News 3 commentsupdate:Mar 9, 2016

Urgent problem emerging in German layer sector

What to do with 40 million male chicks per year from layer lines, in Germany alone? That was the question raised during the 51st Franchise distributor meeting of Lohmann Tierzucht.

Just a few days earlier the German state Nordrhein-Westfalen banned the killing of male day-old chicks in layer hatcheries, with a transition period of only 1 year. Politicians of the neighbouring state Niedersachsen immediately announced they were thinking to do the same, implying that the ban could be rolled out over the whole of Germany and even beyond.

"Let me be very clear on this subject, we have a very serious and acute problem," managing director of Lohmann Tierzucht Rudolf Preisinger stated.

What hurts the most is that there is no alternative available at this moment. Killing the male chicks immediately after hatching and processing them into pet food or use for feeding zoo animals, is the only viable way. Methods of in-ove sex determination are not yet fully developed and the possibilities to raise the male chicks for poultry meat are slim.

Trials on raising the male chicks with a layer pedigree have shown far from ideal results. A feed conversion rate of 3.5 to 4 and a meat yield of only 1 kilogram after 80 days doesn't bring anything.

"Also from a sustainability viewpoint this is not the way to go," added Preisinger. But on the other hand, when the German legislation is in place, the sector has to comply. Every solution, is welcome.

Read more on the Franchise distributor meeting of Lohmann Tierzucht in the next edition of World Poultry Magazine.

World Poultry


  • TM Taruseng Munyanyi

    I think these bird can be reared to 18 weeks and then can be used as meat. However the costs of rearing against the price will be a bing challenge they will consume more .The selling price wont have profitability. Politicians should not come with legstilation that are unproductive to the country, consumer and breeders

  • Mark Mr Comerford

    There is a solution to this problem, given the unsustainability of attempting to rear male DOCs or trying to 'convert' them into layers.
    Wholesale incineration of male DOCs is a proven solution in the Middle East where there is less political sensitivity over using this technology.
    Hatchery waste, which includes dead-in-shells, egg waste, including shells has traditionally been a very difficult type of waste to dispose of and until recently was usually dug into the ground. Many organisations do this but never admit it, even in Europe.
    Hatchery waste could include male DOCs given humane slaughtering techniques and the resulting volume of ash (which is less than 2% of the original volume) can be easily disposed of.
    Let the industry decide what is best practice, not politicians and legislators

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