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Sex change chickens

(28 Posts)
GagaJo Sun 31-Jan-21 14:36:47

Billions of unwanted male chicks are slaughtered by the farming industry. But what if those male chicks could instead hatch out as functional females, able to grow into egg-laying birds?

That’s the vision of Israeli startup Soos Technology. Founded in 2017, the company, which has received $3.3m in investment and prize winnings, wants to make commercial hatcheries kinder and more economic by changing the effective sex of poultry embryos as they develop.

Its technology exposes eggs to sound vibrations which, it says, alters the gene expression in developing male embryos, so rather than testes, an ovary forms instead (birds have only one). The company says its experiments are currently producing batches of chicks where 60% are observably female and it expects this to increase. “We are changing the sex of the chicken to dramatically decrease male chicks culled,” says Yael Alter, Soos’s CEO. Even if all male chicks aren’t converted, it could still make a difference. The company is currently piloting its technology at a commercial egg farm in Israel and has other pilots lined up with an Italian and a US egg producer.

Esspee Sun 31-Jan-21 15:36:44

Does that make them trans chickens?

EllanVannin Sun 31-Jan-21 16:47:48

I don't want to see chickens running around with 6 legs ,created by any biological engineering. You'd never catch them anyway grin

Blossoming Sun 31-Jan-21 16:53:17

I doubt the aim is kindness, female chickens are simply more profitable. What’s next, bull calves changed to heifer calves?

Fennel Sun 31-Jan-21 16:55:47

What a brilliant idea!
When we kept poultry we bought the males for their meat - they're much more meaty than the hens and they're cheaper.
Buy nowadays the hens are fed extra to make them fatter.
Something to help the Israelis - a cockerel doesn''t have a penis, which surprised me.
Also cockerels have already been castrated (chemically) for years to make capons so they get fat and lazy. Poor things.

Callistemon Sun 31-Jan-21 16:56:29


Crocodiles change sex in the egg depending on the temperature. I learnt that on a visit to a crocodile farm, however, I don't want to eat crocodile eggs!

I suppose if it happens fairly naturally without the use of hormones that's more acceptable.

EllanVannin Sun 31-Jan-21 17:00:50

My mum would never buy capons.

SueDonim Sun 31-Jan-21 17:07:08

One way to get rid of the patriarchy! grin

GagaJo Sun 31-Jan-21 18:50:48

Fennel, if there is no penis, how do hens get fertilised? I am aware I probably sound very ignorant now.

lemongrove Sun 31-Jan-21 18:55:02

Isn’t that what a cock is for?😊

Chewbacca Sun 31-Jan-21 18:59:20

grin oh Lemongrove, you never fail to make me laugh out loud! gringringrin

Callistemon Sun 31-Jan-21 18:59:23

Ooh, you are awful!

Callistemon Sun 31-Jan-21 19:01:24

I suppose it's the same process with all birds?

Baggs Sun 31-Jan-21 19:02:24


Fennel, if there is no penis, how do hens get fertilised? I am aware I probably sound very ignorant now.

How birds have sex. Since someone asked.

Baggs Sun 31-Jan-21 19:03:15

x posts, calli 🙂

Fennel Sun 31-Jan-21 19:04:05

GagaJo - evidently they squirt the semen into a vent at the back of the hen blush

GagaJo Sun 31-Jan-21 19:46:35

That doesn't sound much fun for the hen.

EllanVannin Sun 31-Jan-21 20:06:38

Doesn't even give them time to moan about a headache does it, GagaJo ?

Callistemon Sun 31-Jan-21 20:11:20

Choking into my wine EllanVannin🐓🐓🐓

MissAdventure Sun 31-Jan-21 22:30:38

Trans"hen"ders. smile

GagaJo Sun 31-Jan-21 22:47:01

LOL MissAdventure.

vegansrock Mon 01-Feb-21 06:53:59

Let’s all laugh at cruelty to animals shall we? One of the reasons for this pandemic is humans abusing animals. Chickens being the most abused animal on the planet, unable to live anything like a natural life. When is the last time you actually saw a mother hen with her chicks outside of a children’s book?

grandmajet Mon 01-Feb-21 07:12:05

What sound vibrations do they play to alter the development do you think? Maybe Beyoncé, If I Were a Boy?

I do take your point, vegansrock. There is a farm near us which sells genuine free range eggs - you can see the chickens, ducks etc wandering about - and also milk and cheese from cows milked once a day so calves stay with them. Not perfect, but better than the standard system.

Fennel Mon 01-Feb-21 12:47:30

Ours lived like that, except we had to keep an eye on them if we let them out of their run because of foxes. Even in their run buzzards often hovered over them and would take any small ones. in spite of the cockerels screaming.
As for hens with chicks, husband made a special run for them because if left in the henhouse with their mother the adults trod on them after they left the nest.
On second thoughts, not a brilliant idea of the Israelis.

NellG Mon 01-Feb-21 12:57:21

So, are the bald, headless tied up chickens we buy in supermarkets all female then?

I'm reasonably confident that absolutely nothing is wasted in the food industry if it can be helped. But I'm happy to be proved wrong.

Vegansrock - I don't think anyone was laughing at animal cruelty, they were sniggering about bird sex and the word cock.