Over the last 25 years, poultry farms – in particular chicken farms – have been transformed into efficient operations that can fulfil the demand for meat and eggs, with nearly every step along the production process optimised for speed and quality. Two critical processes, however, have not yet been effectively developed: non-invasive detection of egg fertility before incubation, and sexing (i.e. gender determination) of eggs before hatching. Despite the critical economic implications and the clear benefits of performing preincubation fertility detection and sexing before hatching, there is currently no solution on the market.
The EggDetect Unit (EDU) is a machine based on a cutting-edge, patent-pending technology designed for sorting chicken eggs using hyperspectral technology to detect pre-incubation fertility and perform pre-hatching sexing non-invasively. Incubation of infertile eggs leads to unnecessary costs – on average about 15% of eggs turn out infertile – and may even cause biohealth problems in incubators. As layer chickens are bred to lay eggs, male chicks are not valuable to hatcheries and undergo mass culling. Pre-hatching sex detection solves the problem of separating male and female fertilised eggs to ensure proper breeding treatment. Male embryos are not incubated, meaning hatcheries can quickly free up space in incubators and sell male-embryo eggs for consumption.
The breakthrough of this system is the ability to identify fertility as early as the day the egg is laid – much sooner and cheaper than is currently the case. EDU provides real-time, remote early detection of fertility and sex for a variety of eggs, at over 98% accuracy at the standard throughput of at least 50,000 eggs per hour
The ultimate objective for EggDetect is to bring to the global poultry industry a more efficient, cost-effective, and humane alternative to traditional methods of determining the fertility of eggs and the gender of the embryos before hatching.