The killing of male layer hybrids in the hatcheries, at a day-old, is common practice but it also raises strong socio-ethical concerns. In recent years, three different approaches to avoid this killing have been developed—the in ovo sex determination, the rearing of male layers for meat, and the use of dual-purpose breeds. In Germany, about one million male layers are raised each year in the organic and conventional sector. Regarding animal health and welfare, this concept seems favourable. However, the main challenge, that is, to what extent these animals can be kept in a resource-friendly and ecologically sustainable way, remains yet to be solved. Currently, for a niche, this approach contributes to the diversification of the German market. It serves as an example for reacting to societal concerns immediately, before feasible solutions are available for the entire system of modern poultry production.
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