UK highlights shortage of chick sexers

12-03-2015 | |
UK highlights shortage of chick sexers

The chick-sexing profession has been thrust into the spotlight in the UK recently, with various news outlets highlighting the shortage of people willing to take up this position.

A shortage of chick sexers, which determine the gender of day-old chicks at a rate of about 1,000/hour is creating a headache for hatchery owners. The high salary, lack of new entrants and phrase “chick sexing” all appear to have captured the attention of news editors across the world.

The problem has grown so acute however, that the British Poultry Council called on the government to have the job listed as one with a “chronic staff shortage”. This status, which was not granted, would have allowed the poultry industry to recruit from abroad more easily.

Andrew Large, chief executive of the BPC, noted that even a £40,000/year salary was not enough to attract new entrants. “In South East Asia a chick sexer is a high-status job. In the UK it is more likely to be the butt of jokes.”

He added there were between 100 and 150 chick sexers in the UK, and a shortage of workers is resulting in export markets being lost. It takes three years to train fully for the role, which requires high levels of dexterity and good eyesight.

Source: Poultry World

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Jake Davies Freelance Journalist