eggXYt is bringing gene editing to poultry farms to save chicks and resources

When it comes to hen farming, the dudes obviously aren’t that useful.

The overall chicken market is split into broilers and layers, i.e. chickens for people to eat and chickens that lay eggs. Hens are the only egg-layers, because of this, hatcheries are really focused on getting female chicks, but currently there’s no way for them to determine sex in a non-invasive way before going through the entire incubation process.

EggXYt is tackling this problem through a gene-editing solution that allows chicken farms to detect the sex of an egg pre-incubation, often weeks before the existing practice does. The startup is launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield.

The startup’s technology first implants an identifier into the birthing hens which manifest itself only in the male eggs the chicken has. previous to the eggs arriving at the hatchery, eggXYt’s scanner technology, branded as seXYt, quickly identifies which eggs are male and female and allows the farms to focus on incubating the female eggs while quickly repurposing the male eggs rather than waiting several weeks to manually identify them and kill them off.

“Eggxyt makes it possible to count your chickens before they hatch,” said CEO Yehuda Elram. “It uses cutting-edge gene-editing technologies, a radical pioneering field that will change how we both produce and consume food.”

The ethical issues alone are certainly tricky, but by identifying the male eggs early, eggXYt gives the hatcheries more time to work out a solution to make use of the nearly 6 billion male eggs that are wasted annually by existing processes. The process also saves the farms from focusing resources on double the eggs that they need to house in hatching facilities.

As the startup looks to roll out this technology, they’re first looking at target markets that have the most friendly regulation — it’s still pending FDA approval — but in saving hatcheries money and preventing widespread chick-killing, eggXYt believes its solution has global appeal.