Scientists have developed a DNA-based technology for determining the sex of zero-day chicks – as soon as they hatch from eggs – which will be particularly useful for turkey and guinea fowl producers.
The researchers at the Central Avian Research Institute (CARI) in Bareilly, India, say the new technology will provide a financial boost to farmers.
Photo: Giovanni Cancemi
Under the new technology, 100 microlitres of blood is taken from a baby bird to determine its sex and CARI scientists are planning to start a mobile van equipped with the technology and visit farmers to conduct tests.
Sanjeev Kumar, CARI principal scientist, told the Times of India: “Any farmer or entrepreneur can purchase the equipment. We will charge a nominal price of 10Rs per sample which is less than the current input cost of rearing both male and female species for weeks.”
Unlike chicken, the sex of domestic birds cannot be identified for several weeks post-birth. Turkey chicks are identified at 16 weeks, guinea fowl at 12 weeks, ducks at 8-10 and quails at 4.
“If the chicks are segregated soon after their birth, it will reduce expenses of farmers and enhance their income. A farmer has to spend 3-4 Rs ($0.04 – $0.06) per day to feed a single turkey and 1-2 Rs ($0.01 - $0.03) for guineafowl and ducks.
“These farmers have to also incur expenses on vaccination, medical, feed and other management costs before their sex is determined,” he added.