Male Chicks

Chicks deserve kindness

In a natural environment, a mother hen will spend around three weeks keeping her eggs warm and safe. She will talk to her chicks while they are still in the egg and her babies will chirp back. After hatching, chicks form close bonds with their mothers, seeking comfort and protection by snuggling into their feathers. Not only are chicks adorable, they’re smart too! During the first six weeks of their lives, chicks will learn everything they need to know by watching their mothers closely. When given the opportunity, mother hens can teach their babies skills that can be passed down for generations.

 Chicks are sensitive and intelligent creatures, deserving of kindness and compassion. Sadly, chicks hatched for egg farming are are exploited in many ways, right here in Aotearoa.

The issues male chicks face

Chicks are separated from their mothers before they’re born. Female chicks are raised in crowded conditions and will spend their lives being farmed for their eggs.

The confronting reality of egg farming is that vulnerable newborn male chicks are considered waste products by the egg industry because they cannot lay eggs.

Around four million male chicks are killed within a day of hatching every year in New Zealand, either by being gassed or shredded alive in a process called ‘maceration.’

The egg industry

There are a small number of hatcheries that supply hens to egg farms across New Zealand. All male chicks born at these hatcheries are killed shortly after hatching.

Male chicks are killed no matter which egg farming method is used, whether it’s cage, barn or free range.

Around four million hens are farmed for their eggs in New Zealand, over 60% of whom are confined to cramped and overcrowded cages.

It doesn’t have to be this way

Groundbreaking advances in technology have made it possible to avoid the needless killing of day-old male chicks. Around the world, egg producers are adopting in-ovo sexing technologies that allow only female chicks to hatch.

This year, Germany passed legislation that will make it illegal to kill male chicks from 2022 and will instead adopt in-ovo technologies. France also plans to ban the killing of male chicks by 2022. In Italy, the country’s leading egg producer has also committed to adopting in-ovo technology.

The Egg Producers Federation of New Zealand has stated publicly that when Germany proves a transition is possible New Zealand hatcheries will also adopt the technology.

You can make a difference

The kindest thing you can do for hens and chicks alike is to leave eggs off your plate. More and more Kiwis are making the switch to plant-based versions of egg products and the options are endless!

Try going egg free and check out our delicious egg-free recipes for inspiration.

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