The commercial egg industry has long been criticized for the practice of culling male chicks, which are deemed useless by producers as they do not lay eggs and are not suitable for meat production. However, in recent years, there has been a push by commercial egg producers to end this practice and find more humane and sustainable alternatives.
One of the main alternatives to culling male chicks is the use of in-ovo sexing technology. This technology allows for the identification of the sex of a chick while it is still inside the egg, before it hatches. This means that only female chicks are hatched and raised for egg production, eliminating the need to cull male chicks.
Another alternative is the use of male-only layer breeds. These breeds are specifically developed to produce eggs without the need for fertilization. They are genetically modified so that the male chicks will not hatch and will not be culled. This method is not yet available on a large scale, but it is expected to become more popular in the future.
A number of commercial egg producers have pledged to end the culling of male chicks, and some have already implemented these alternatives in their operations. For example, many egg producers in Europe have adopted in-ovo sexing technology and have pledged to phase out the culling of male chicks by 2020.