Newly hatched chickens using an egg for a hat Newly hatched chickens using an egg for a hat Male chicks are a waste of time and money and chicken. (Photo: Irina Kozorog / Shutterstock)

How a 'morning after pill for chickens' can save 3 billion lives a year

A company just invented a way to count male chickens before they hatch. Omelettes, anyone?

It's about time we start counting our chickens before they hatch. An Israeli startup is figuring out how to identify male and female chicks while they're still inside their eggs.

Currently, the only way for industrial hatcheries to determine the sex of an unborn chicken is to incubate the egg for a few weeks and wait for the chick to hatch. If it's a girl, she's sent to lay more eggs or grown for slaughter. If it's a boy, they kill him.

So that's currently the fate of billions of boy chicks every year. But Israeli company EggXYT is developing technology to identify the male chickens right after their eggs are laid. Rather than going through the expensive process of incubating the eggs and paying workers to identify them, farms will soon be able to figure out which eggs are male from the start and ... make scrambled eggs?

That's actually the plan. The male eggs can get sent to the food market, a pretty useful tactic since there's a global egg shortage going on.

EggZYT was just included in the Disrupt 100, a list identifying businesses that have the most potential to influence, change or create new global markets. Yehuda Elram founded the company with Tel Aviv University's Dr. Daniel Often, one of the leading neuroscientists in the world.

"We're saving 3 billion chicks' lives a year," said Elram in a YouTube video. "We're saving the industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year."

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How a 'morning after pill for chickens' can save 3 billion lives a year
A company just invented a way to identify male and female chicks while they're still inside their eggs.