Solving an age-old issue in the poultry industry

Supported by:

2 June 2021

Supported by:

2 June 2021

Solving an age-old issue in the poultry industryAnimal welfare is becoming an increasingly relevant criterion for consumers when choosing a product. In many developed countries, it also determines to a large extent the shelf price of eggs. Welfare is normally associated – and limited – to the living conditions of laying hens, as this is the most visible step in the production process.

In Ovo is focused on improving animal welfare in hatcheries, the places where chicks are born before they become laying hens. Currently, all male chicks that hatch are being culled, as they don’t lay eggs and are therefore deemed ‘useless’ in egg production. The scope of the problem is immense, as an estimated 6.5 billion chicks are killed every year.

In Ovo has developed a machine, called Ella, that is able to gender type the egg before it hatches. This way, the culling of male chicks can be prevented. The machine uses mass spectrometry to achieve the high throughput needed to operate in commercial hatcheries, where millions of chicks hatch on an annual basis.

Key learning objectives:

  • Learn to apply high tech solutions such as mass spectrometry to solve real-life problems
  • Gain insights into the poultry industry – a growing sector with low innovation
  • Learn how to create value by disruption in a very mature market.


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    Wouter BruinsWouter Bruins is the Co-Founder of In Ovo, a company that combines animal welfare and efficiency by offering biotechnological solutions to the poultry industry.

    Bruins is a biologist with a passion for technologies that can improve animal wellbeing and reduce climate impact. He has founded two companies, In Ovo and Amplino, and has been a driver in organising more student entrepreneurship at Leiden University. He is also a member of the expert team of the MIT subsidy programme of the Province of South-Holland.

    Bruins has won numerous awards and spoken at TEDx Haarlem. He even ranked first place in Vrij Nederland’s 101 biggest nerds of the Netherlands list, a prize which he is most proud of.

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