Chick sexing is the method of distinguishing the sex of chicken and other hatchlings, usually by a trained person called a chick sexer or chicken sexer. Chicken sexing is practiced mostly by large commercial hatcheries, who have two different feeding programmes, one for the females (or hens) who are destined to lay eggs for commercial sale, and the others for the males (or cocks), most of which will be culled within days of hatching because they are irrelevant to egg production. A limited number may be kept and fattened for their meat. The chicken sexer puts the chicken hatchlings on the appropriate track early, enabling those chickens to receive optimal nourishment for their likely commercial role from an early age.
Different segments of the poultry industry sex chickens for various reasons. In farms that produce eggs, males are unwanted; for meat production, separate male and female lines for breeding are maintained to produce the hybrid birds that are sold for the table, and chicks of the wrong sex in either line are unwanted. Chicks of an unwanted sex are killed almost immediately to reduce costs to the breeder.
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