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What Is A Chicken Sexer?

What is a Chicken Sexer

A CHICKEN SEXER is a real job position in the poultry industry.

To put it simply, chicken sexers are professionally trained to determine whether day-old chicks are males or females.

They employe different ways and techniques to do this (which we will cover later.)

Interesting, right?

In this article, let’s explore a bit more about the world of chicken sexing.

We’ll discuss:

  • the two types of chicken sexers
  • their duties and responsibilities
  • how much chicken sexers make
  • and how to become one

Let’s get started!

What Are The Two Types of Chicken Sexers?

Visual Chick Sexers

Visual sexers are experts who use their keen observation skills and visual cues to identify the sex of chicks.

They assess various physical traits like wing feather development, vent shape, size, and color to distinguish between males and females.

This, however, requires years of extensive experience and specialized training.

Visual sexers tend to work faster than vent sexers, too.

Chick Vent Sexers

Vent sexers employ a more invasive technique to ascertain the sex of chicks by examining their genitalia, particularly the vent area.

This method demands specialized training and expertise, too, as it involves carefully manipulating the chick to expose and assess the genital region.

While vent sexing is known for its higher accuracy compared to visual sexing, it necessitates a greater level of skill and precision to avoid discomfort for the chick, as well as avoid biosecurity issues.

This method usually takes ever so slightly longer to implement.

To help you visualize the process, check out this video below!

What Are The Duties and Responsibilities of a Chicken Sexer?

Chicken sexers are crucial in upholding quality control within commercial poultry operations.

Their expertise and experience are paramount in maintaining a high level of accuracy during the sexing process.

Why? Because even the slightest minor errors can have significant implications for productivity and profitability.

Adhering to strict standards and protocols is essential to minimize mistakes.

It also guarantees reliable sex determination, ensuring the overall success of the operation.

Now let’s talk specifics of this interesting job title!

1. Identify the Sex of Chicks

The main role of a chicken sexer is to identify the gender of recently hatched chicks precisely.

Their expertise lies in carefully observing and analyzing distinct physical traits of the chicks to distinguish between males and females.

This involves assessing characteristics such as wing feathers, vent shape, size, color, and other visual cues to make an accurate determination.

2. Sort and Separate Chicks

After sexing the chicks, the chicken sexer takes on the task of segregating them into suitable groups.

This entails physically handling and transferring the chicks to distinct compartments or containers based on their gender.

The precise sorting and separation guarantee that male and female chicks are appropriately allocated for specific purposes, such as meat production or egg laying, facilitating efficient poultry management.

3. Record Crucial Data

Chicken sexers frequently maintain records or databases of the chicks they have sexed.

These records encompass important details such as the number of males and females, hatch dates, breeds, or lineages.

The meticulous documentation allows for effective management of the poultry flock, facilitates productivity monitoring, and provides valuable data for future decision-making purposes.

4. Specialized Maintenance and Sanitation of Poultry Equipment  

Chicken sexers may have the additional responsibility of maintaining, cleaning, and sanitizing the equipment used for chick sexing.

This encompasses ensuring that tools like magnifying glasses, specialized lighting, or protective gear are in optimal working condition.

They also uphold high hygiene standards to prevent the spread of diseases and contamination, contributing to a safe and sanitary environment.

If a chicken sexer has contamination, bacteria, or another contagious pathogen on their hands or equipment, they could quickly infect an entire plant building, farm, or thousands of farms nationwide — especially if they work in a commercial hatching facility.

This is why their due diligence and carefully maintained hygiene is so important.

What’s It Like Working as a Chicken Sexer?

The workplace of a chicken sexer can greatly vary depending on the operation scale and context.

In large commercial hatcheries or poultry facilities, sexers typically work indoors in specialized sexing rooms.

These dedicated spaces optimize conditions for accurate sexing and efficient sorting of large numbers of chicks, equipped with lighting, magnifying tools, and workstations.

The environment is fast-paced and focused, often working alongside a team to examine and sort chicks quickly.

Workspaces are organized for smooth chick flow, with separate areas or containers for each gender.

Effective communication and coordination are vital to maintaining workflow and accuracy.

In smaller-scale operations, the workplace may involve visiting different sites, like farms or hatcheries.

Portable sexing stations or tools allow on-site sex determination without transporting chicks, ensuring prompt and accurate services.

Smaller-scale operations may have you working alone rather than in a group and will likely be slower and more laid-back overall.

Regardless of the setting, maintaining hygiene and keen eyes are crucial.

Cleanliness prevents disease spread and ensures chick well-being.

Being meticulous with your work will ensure chickens go to the right location, ensuring the company is productive and the customers are happy.

Knowing and adhering to biosecurity protocols and preventing cross-contamination are key responsibilities for chicken sexers, too.

Working as a chicken sexer

How To Become a Chicken Sexer

While you may be able to apply to chicken sexer positions and get on-the-job training, it may suit you better to plan and prepare before applying for a position.

This may give you an advantage over your competitors and make you more likely to succeed on the job.

1. Take Training or Education Courses

Consider enrolling in courses or programs related to poultry science, animal sciences, or agriculture to gain a strong foundation in poultry management.

2. Get Hands-on Experience 

Seek hands-on experience by working or volunteering on a poultry farm, hatchery, or similar setting to develop your skills in chick care and handling.

While you’re practicing, consider if you want to be a visual or a vent checker.

3. Get Specialized Technique Training

Once you decide which method you’d like to use, start getting specific with your education to refine your skills and knowledge.

Consider attending workshops, programs, or internships.

Reading books, studying diagrams, and watching highly specific YouTube videos for commercial chick sexing will help you advance your skills.

4. Use Your Network to Look for Jobs as a Chicken Sexer

Connect with professionals in the poultry industry, attend relevant events, and join professional associations to access job opportunities and learn from experienced chicken sexers.

Apply for positions at hatcheries, poultry production facilities, or poultry service providers to start your career as a chicken sexer.

How Much Do Chicken Sexers Make?

This 2015 report from NBC News stated that chicken sexers make about $60,000 annually.

However, Gitnux says chicken sexers earn $30,000 to $60,000 annually as of 2023.

And in 2017, Pacific Standard said chicken sexers start at $60,000 a year.

Finally, this July 2023 report from Comparably claims chicken sexers make an average of $22,480 annually.

This is a relatively wide range of salaries, so be sure to note what is available in your area, as well as your local expected compensation.

If at all possible, it’s helpful to get in touch with chicken sexers who live and work near you.

They can guide you through the process of becoming a proficient sexer, finding a job, and negotiating your salary.

Young Chicks from Hatchery

FAQs about Chicken Sexing

Is chicken sexing a difficult job?

Yes, chicken sexing is considered a difficult job that requires a high level of skill and training.

It can take several months or even years to become proficient at chicken sexing, requiring a great deal of concentration and attention to detail.

Are there any health risks associated with working as a chicken sexer?

There are some health risks associated with working as a chicken sexer, particularly in terms of repetitive motion injuries and eye strain.

Chicken sexers must spend long periods of time looking at small details, which can cause eye strain and other vision problems.

They may also experience pain or injury from repetitive motions, such as bending or twisting.

Is there a demand for chicken sexers in the poultry industry?

There is a demand for chicken sexers in the poultry industry, particularly in areas where large-scale commercial poultry operations are common.

However, the demand for chicken sexers may fluctuate depending on market conditions and other factors.

Can chicken sexing be done by machine, or is it a job that requires human skill?

While there are some machines that can be used to sex chickens, the process is still largely done by human skill.

Chicken sexing requires a high level of visual acuity and attention to detail, which can be difficult for machines to replicate.

Are there any ethical concerns related to chicken sexing?

There are some ethical concerns related to chicken sexing, particularly regarding the fate of male chickens that are identified as such.

In many cases, male chickens are unsuitable for meat production and may be culled or euthanized.

This has led to concerns about the ethical treatment of animals in the poultry industry.

Chicken Sexer: Final Thoughts

The role of a chicken sexer holds great importance in the world of poultry management.

Chicken sexers play a vital role in accurately determining the gender of chicks, ensuring efficient flock management, and supporting the productivity, accuracy, and profitability of commercial poultry operations.

The job of a chicken sexer requires speed, expertise, precision, and attention to detail.

These professionals utilize their observational skills, specialized techniques, and knowledge of physical characteristics to differentiate between male and female chicks.

Whether through visual sexing or vent sexing, their accurate determinations have far-reaching implications for allocating resources, breeding programs, and overall flock management.

Interested to learn about the poultry industry and managing your flock?

Check out our recommended reads below!

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