“CHEGGY” is the name of the machine that marks a breakthrough in hyperspectral measurement technology. Developed by the German manufacturer AAT, this innovative technology is now ready for high-volume, practical application for brown-laying hens in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and other European countries.
“After years of intensive research and development work, this technology based on the detection of the feather color is the first procedure suitable for the high volumes of a modern hatchery.” says Jörg Hurlin, Managing Director of AAT. “Our technology is currently the most cost-efficient process on the market.”
Hy-Line France has been using hyperspectral measurement technology to determine the sex in the egg since the beginning of 2020. "From our hatchery in Brittany we supply in-ovo sexed chicks from the brand ‘Hy-Line Brown’ to the French market since spring 2020," says Frédéric Masson, Managing Director of Hy-Line France. "As the market share for brown layers in France is over 90 percent, CHEGGY can contribute very quickly to the high demands of the egg market in France."
In fact, hyperspectral measurement technology has several advantages. The procedure can be fully automated with high accuracy (currently greater than 95%) and more than 20,000 eggs can be tested per hour and machine. The procedure is non-invasive, so the eggshell does not have to be opened for taking liquid samples. Therefore, there is no risk of contamination and no risk of injury to the embryo. Thus, there are nearly no hatching losses and the technology makes additional contributions to animal welfare. Finally, no chemicals must be used in hyperspectral measurement technology, which makes CHEGGY particularly environmentally friendly.
“With this technology, it is possible to 'in-ovo'-determine the sex of brown-laying hens hatched for the French market”, Vincent Baumier, Managing Director of Lohmann France adds. "We can also meet the needs of other European countries concerning safe and sustainable sex determination of hatching eggs on a large scale.”
Due to the determination time of the sex (like all current procedures for sex determination, this happens in the second third of the incubation period), AAT also offers an additional, innovative and particularly animal welfare-friendly procedure. “STUNNY” can anaesthetize male embryos in accordance with animal welfare requirements. This ensures the adherence to animal protection guidelines and marks another decisive advantage over other processes.
“But we are just getting started,” Jörg Hurlin, Managing Director of AAT, states: “We aim to offer supply chains without culling of day-old males starting 2022 in Europe.”
For the German market, AAT has started producing CHEGGY-sexed eggs in June 2020 already. Now, other European countries are adopting the technology: IBERTEC in Spain and Pluriton in Belgium can provide CHEGGY-sexed brown layer chicks for the European market, respectively.