By 2022, killing male chicks in laying farms will be prohibited in France and Germany. Laval Mayenne Technopole conducted an experiment aiming to promote these “laying hen brothers” with a dedicated brand, Coquets de Mayenne.
Each year, 50 million male chicks are slaughtered in France, and the same in Germany. Why? Because the males of the breeds which lay the most eggs produce less meat than others.
But this treatment shocks more and more consumers, and both countries voted for laws to prevent laying farms from keeping only the females. By 2022, the food industry must therefore find alternatives for these chicks.
Food Heroes, a European project to reduce food waste
The European project Food Heroes aims to find solutions against food waste and studied 3 possibilities including in-ovo sexing of chicken eggs and the use of mixed breeds.
In Atlantic France, Laval Mayenne Technopole took part in the project and chose to experiment the third way: adapt the whole economic model.
Coquets de Mayenne: a dedicated brand for laying hen brothers
In partnership with the agricultural school Agrocampus Laval and the company Le Gars Daudet, Laval Mayenne Technopole experimented breeding male chicks to produce chickens which are sold under a distinctive brand, “Coquets de Mayenne”. Coquet is the old French word for coquelet which means cockerel.
The animals were reared for 60 days and reached a weight of 600 to 800 g. By selling them at a more expensive price than other chickens (€11 to €12/kg), the economic model allows farmers to make a profit thanks to consumers making the choice to favour these “rescued” chickens. An interesting virtuous circle to improve animal welfare.