The SELEGGT process is a way to avoid chick culling. It is based on endocrinological gender identification in the hatching egg. This scientific approach has been automated in the SELEGGT process and can be used in every hatchery in the near future.
In the SELEGGT process, the hatching egg that has been in the incubator for nine days, is firstly taken out of the incubator and placed in a specific position. There, a sensor first checks whether the hatching egg is fertilised. In all fertilised hatching eggs, lasers create a fine hole in the eggshell. Then just a minimal amount of allantois fluid is extracted from the fertilised eggs. By utilising a non-invasive procedure to extract the liquid the fertilised eggs are left unharmed. Hence the interior of the hatching egg is untouched and remains safe and sound.
If the embryo is female, the drops will contain estrone sulphate, a female hormone. The drops are then placed into a patented marker outside of the hatching egg.
The marker reacts to the estrone sulphate and shows a colour change – similar to a pregnancy test. The hatching eggs can now be sorted according to the colour change. The male hatching eggs and unfertilised hatching eggs are turned into high-quality feed, and the female hatching eggs are returned to the incubator. The minuscule hole created by the laser does not need to be sealed as the inner membrane reseals on its own. Consequently, only female chicks hatch on the 21st day of the incubation.
How does endocrinological gender identification in the hatching egg work and what is it based on?
As well as the intensive research and improvement of the marker, a machine was developed for the automatization of the SELEGGT process. The main use of this machine is extracting the allantois liquid from the hatching eggs. The machine must fulfil various requirements before the SELEGGT process is ready for common market use: