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No-Kill-Eggs – The Truth About Eggs Without Chick Culling

No-Kill-Eggs – The Truth About Eggs Without Chick Culling

You want to know all about the eggs without killing chicks and what happens to the male chicks? Then you've come to the right place! Surely you have already heard that in the egg industry male chicken chicks cruelly shredded or gassed immediately after birth because they do not lay eggs, do not produce enough meat and are therefore uneconomical.

Fortunately, this has been prohibited in Germany since the beginning of 2022. But where do the rescued brother cocks actually end up since then? Are they raised in a species-appropriate manner and do they live happily ever after? Questions upon questions.

In this article, I would like to give you everything you need to know about eggs without killing chicks. In addition, I would like to investigate whether the offspring of the laying hens are really doing well - or whether in the end only we consumers are happy and the animals must continue to suffer. Let's go!

Here you can find a short overview in advance:

  1. Background
  2. Alternatives
  3. Breeding
  4. Seal
  5. Evaluation
  6. Closing words

Background: What are actually eggs without killing chicks?

Dying for eggs chicks? Here they are sorted out
Male chicks are uneconomical and are killed / © Karremann, PETA Deutschland e.V.

About 40 million chicks were produced in Germany each year in Gas atmosphere with carbon dioxide or killed by cutting up the entire animal in the shredder.₁ Since their life was or is taken from them immediately after birth, they are often also referred to as "day-old chicks". From that no animals die for eggsTherefore, there could never be any question of such a thing.

So-called eggs without killing chicks are therefore simply commercially available Chicken eggs for the production of which no chicks were shredded or gassed. The product packaging of the corresponding eggs are marked with different seals (e.g. "Hahn im Glück") so that consumers can recognize them more easily.

Alternatives: How are eggs possible without killing chicks?

Are eggs without killing chicks even possible?

The chick-killing ban has now come into force. But the male chicks of the hens are of course still uneconomical from the point of view of the industry. So what are the options available to those responsible for producing eggs without killing chicks?

According to Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) hatcheries currently have the following alternatives to choose from:

  • Sex determination
  • Dual-purpose chickens
  • Breeding

In the following, I would now like to go into a little more detail about how exactly the industry wants to use these measures to prevent chick shredding or the gassing of brother cocks.

1. sex determination in the egg

With the help of modern technology (spectroscopic procedure/light test or endocrinological procedure/hormonal test) it is possible to determine the Determine sex of chicken embryos already in the hatching egg and to discontinue incubation of the male chicks. In Germany, this is possible by law up to the 13th day of incubation. After that, the embryos' sensation of pain in the egg can then no longer be ruled out.

Nowadays, the (uneconomical) brother cocks can be made, for example, with the techniques of PLANTegg and the Seleggt specifically detected and removed before their birth be. Eggs without killing chicks are therefore possible in principle. The discarded eggs can then be processed into animal feed.

2. breeding dual purpose chickens

The hatching of so-called dual-purpose chickens is also an alternative for chick killing in the long run. These are bred chicken breeds, which lay fewer but still many eggs and put on much more meat.

Your balanced laying and fattening performance ultimately makes them profitable for both the egg and meat industries. So the killing of the brother cocks would end automatically if only this breed of chicken would be selected.

3. rearing the brother cocks

Raising brother cocks as an alternative to producing eggs without killing chicks, is the Main reason fFor this article. Instead of gassing or killing them, the young roosters should now be allowed to grow up. That sounds almost too idyllic and beautiful to be true.

How and where are the male chicks raised? After all, the rearing is Costly and space-intensive. In addition, the cock meat is an absolute Niche product. The animals hardly produce any meat or fat, and in principle there is not even a market for them in Germany. So farmers have to raise egg prices significantly in order to cross-subsidize rearing. And in addition also still complicate cheap imports from countries where chick killing is still allowed.

The ZDF is with the documentary "Banning the Killing of Chicks - Where do all the male chicks end up?" went in search of clues and found out that a whole industry is developing out of the ban, the Bringing brother cocks en masse to Poland, where they are used in conventional Factory farming have to live close to close with hardly any fish air and daylight.

The KAT certification (from KAT-Verein, the poultry industry's trade association), aims to guarantee better husbandry conditions and chick-free supply chains, but even with this certification, 20 animals per square meter are still permitted. So raising male chicks is not as romantic as we consumers:inside are led to believe. But more on that in a moment.

Seal: How can you recognize supposed eggs without killing chicks?

Seal without killing chicks on eggs carton

Before I get straight to my assessment, I would first like to give you give a small overview about itThe seals are used to identify eggs that have avoided chick-killing by one of the three methods mentioned above.

The following Seals and initiatives should help you, for example, when buying eggs, to identify the eggs more quickly without killing the chicks early:

  • Brother Cock Initiative Germany
  • Brother Chicks Initiative
  • Brother Egg Initiative
  • Without killing chicks -
  • Rooster in luck
  • Pointed & Jack
  • Jack of hearts
  • Little brother & Little sister
  • Hen & Rooster

You should not blindly trust any of these seals. However, if you want to support that the brother cocks are raised, the most likely way is to use the logo of the "Bruderhahn Initiative Germany (BID)" orient. And for those who prefer eggs where sex recognition and sorting out of male chicks takes place during production, the logo is "Without killing chicks -" probably on the safe side.

It is basically important to know that the Label "Without killing chicks" says nothing about the chosen method and the respective country of the laying hens. For a little more security, you as a consumer:in can nevertheless keep an eye on the respective product seals.

Evaluation: Do the eggs without chick killing really make the life of brother cocks better?

What happens to brother roosters in eggs without chick shredding?

In my opinion, none of the above alternatives improves the lives of male chicks from laying hens. The Gender recognition prevents life, the Dual-purpose chicken only makes egg production more economical for the industry and the rearing of brother cocks even increases the suffering of the animals, because it remains uneconomical and the young live only a few days longer in poor conditions.

Although the animals are not killed within the first 48 hours of their lives, they are must nevertheless die after a few weeks in the (as inexpensive as possible) mass animal husbandry in the electric bath, so that meat can be made from them.

Until then, as the aforementioned ZDF documentary shows, they live in cruel conditions. There is too little straw on the floor of the stables, so that from feces form lumps on their feet. As a result, the animals can no longer walk properly, so inflammation and other agonies are increasingly likely.

Even if organic husbandry is not always the yellow of the egg - in the rearing of brother cocks there is simply no organic husbandry. Instead, the Young cocks are kept as cheap as possiblesince, to be honest, it is more of a Marketing measure than about the selfless rescue of little chicks.

Ban on chick killing is circumvented as it does not apply EU-wide

Eggs without chick killing suggest consumers that chick shredding no longer happens. But this assumption is not true. In many neighboring countries of Germany, chick killing is still allowed, as an internationally uniform regulation is lacking.

German farms therefore have the chance to easily circumvent the chick-killing banby, for example, buying female chicks from the Netherlands and having their brothers killed there. And the female chicks are then marketed here as laying hens, which then lay table eggs in German barns.

Good to know: Since raising male chicks in countries like Poland is much cheaper for farmers, the environmental impact of even more animal transports continues to increase. The additional feed and energy requirements also put a strain on the climate. So eggs without chick-killing are animal-friendly in their idea, but definitely not more environmentally friendly.

The killing of chicks can be eliminated only by the vegetable diet

Consumers:inside have their good reasons for preferring eggs without killing chicks. They want to prevent innocent little animals from being killed for personal egg enjoyment. But the preference for eggs with appropriate labels unfortunately does not exclude the killing of chicks.

On the one hand, because the chick-killing ban for industry Loopholessuch as importing from countries without the ban. On the other hand, because eggs not only as egg, but also sold as an ingredient in countless food products where the origin of the eggs does not have to be labeled.

So for the animal, the eggs without killing chicks basically change precious little. In the end, besides the profiting industry, only many deceived consumers are happy., who were made to have a better conscience.

In the end, the death of the little brother roosters for their own taste can only be Abstain from foods with eggs, respectively by the vegan lifestyle, completely exclude.

Eggs without killing chicks are only for a clear conscience

Buying eggs without killing chicks is not completely avoidable

The logos, labels and slogans on egg packaging are intended to give us consumers the reassuring feeling that for German eggs on the breakfast table or at the sustainable easter brunch no sweet chicks are shredded and gassed.

Behind the preference for eggs without chick killing there is certainly also a good intention for the welfare of the animals. And sexing is certainly still the most animal-friendly alternative among the measures to avoid chick-killing. However, it is the rearing of brother cockerels that has given rise to a new branch of the egg and meat industry, which fuels further problems and Chicks live only a few days longer lets.

"All animals know it, except man, that the highest goal of life is joy."

Samuel Butler (more at Animal welfare quotes)

However, there is no right way to do the wrong thing. Finally, all chickens are slaughtered as soon as they are uneconomical - and that at an extremely early point in time, in relation to their natural life expectancy. Moreover, all chickens - even adults - are sentient beings, like you and me. Exploiting them cannot be justified by taste, tradition, habit or convenience - and therefore Veganer:innen also completely without the consumption of eggs.

Those who really want to protect the chicks and their parents, therefore, get on Vegetable egg alternatives around and lives vegan. Whether as a binder, for thickening or to mimic the taste -. Vegetable starch, applesauce, Kala Namak salt (super for vegan scrambled eggs) and many other, plant-based foods can mimic the benefits of eggs.

I really hope I could help you with this post about buying eggs without killing chicks. Do you have any questions, suggestions or would you like to share your opinion on this topic? Then I look forward to your comment.

Be always kind to animals,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: Who exclusively Eats eggs from own chickenscan rather avoid the killing of chicks. However, this is not suitable for the masses and also not realistic in the implementation. For what other reasons vegans do without the backyard eggs, I explain to you in more detail in the linked blog post.

₁ German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL): Ban on chick-killing (as of 24.04.2023), available at [28.07.2023].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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