automated sex determination for hatching eggs.

Each year, 6.5 billion roosters are killed immediately after the hatching because they cannot lay eggs and therefore have no economic value. In Ovo developed an innovative machine, called Ella, to determine the sex in the egg, which will put an end to this practice. We automated the entire sex determination process.


  • complete handling
  • positioning, sampling, cleaning, conveying, sorting
  • precise and effective
  • processing of thousands of eggs per hour

development for automation.

The Leiden biotech company In Ovo developed an innovative technology that can determine the sex of chicks in the egg. We contributed to the development of the technology and managed the automation of the system. The system works with the world’s fastest mass spectrometer, which requires a minimal liquid sample taken from the egg to determine the sex. As a system developer, we designed and automated all the steps for handling eggs and taking samples.

handling for sampling.

Eggs are supplied in a large tray as standard. We developed an effective technique for making a minuscule hole in the eggshell. Samples are taken with needles from several eggs simultaneously, after which the samples are placed in a so-called multititer plate. The needles are cleaned and the multititer plate is then passed to the mass spectrometer, which determines the sex. Finally, the eggs are sorted, with the female eggs being placed together in a tray to be hatched. In this way, we developed a system that can process thousands of eggs per hour.


“our contribution was indispensable.”

We are proud of the impact of this project, in which we worked closely with In Ovo. With this development we prevent the killing of millions of day-old roosters. This avoids a lot of animal suffering and improves the efficiency of hatcheries.