News update:Mar 9, 2016

'Lohmann Dual' the double-duty chicken

A large producer of egg-laying hens Lohmann Tierzucht, which has its headquarters in Cuxhaven in the northern German state of Lower Saxony, has developed a chicken that can supply both eggs and meat called the "Lohmann Dual", reported Spiegel online recently.

Lohmann bred the dual-purpose chicken in response to growing criticism of conventional practices in modern egg production. Millions of male chicks are destroyed each year because they can't lay eggs, and they don't produce much meat because of their breed, the article noted. The Lohmann Dual produces hens that can produce 250 eggs per year, while the males are fit for broiler production at around 70 days old.

For years, animal-rights activists and consumer associations have been denouncing this "mass murder" in the hatcheries as one of the perverse excesses of profit-driven factory farming. The legality of this culling is also the subject of considerable debate: Germany's animal protection laws prohibit the killing of vertebrates without "reasonable cause." Until now, local authorities have tolerated the practice, at least when the dead chicks are marketed as animal feed.

But while the dual-purpose chicken holds promise, Lohmann Tierzucht has experienced drawbacks to marketing the chickens and eggs. The Lohmann Dual hens lay fewer and smaller eggs compared to conventional hens, and the male birds require more feed than conventional broilers before they are ready for slaughter.

Additionally, the birds have been a turn-off to consumers. The high cost of feeding the birds means the eggs and meat are more expensive than conventional chicken.

World Poultry

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