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Project In Ovo

Thanks to our collaborators...

We found a solution.


million chickens in NL


million chickens in EU


million chickens worldwide

That’s the amount of…

… one day old male chickens (cockerels) that are being discarded each year because they don’t have any significant value in the food chain. We think that’s a real shame and want to change this. In Ovo has been developing a solution to this problem since 2011. Our technology will make the killing of these animals obsolete. Now, together with a large consortium, we have got the opportunity to start making a real difference.

After being active in the Dutch poultry sector for a while, In Ovo gained support from key players in the industry for the development of a gender screening for chicken eggs. Both the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Leiden University decided to back the pragmatic approach of the founders of this Leidenn University spin-off company. A consortium of parties from the industry, the Dutch government, an NGO, the university and In Ovo signed a letter of intent in May 2014 to move the project to the next level.

Now, we have established proof-of-concept and have shown that it’s possible to gender type chicken eggs halfway during incubation. Our technique is much faster than anything that has been developed before. Large scale sorting of fertilized breeding eggs in a hatchery is now within reach.

Project planning

Our project partners, Ministry of Economical Affairs and Leiden University, provided funding for the first two phases (started August 2014), during which In Ovo established proof-of-concept. Results of these phase will be published here soon. Now, we are developing the first real life prototype a sorting device, that can automatically screen and sort eggs on gender. We will launch a first commercial device in the beginning of 2020.

Proof of concept - 22 months: Finished!
Prototype development - 21 months
Field testing - 6 months

What can you do?

Sharing is caring!

Want to support what we do? Great! Our project benefits the most from you sharing our story! This will help us attract new valuable partners from the industry, governments or NGOs. That’s actually how we met most of the awesome partners we have today. There is always room for more organizations speeding up the developments and you can be vital by sharing our story to them!

Especially international attention is valuable, so please share this site and our video with your German friends, Brazilian relatives or American lover. Sharing is caring!

Project partners

Ministry of Economic Affairs

In Ovo

Leiden University

Supporting parties

Male chickens

Laying chickens use all their energy for the production of eggs and tend to be a lot smaller than broilers. Because of this, male layers do not have any value for the poultry industry: they don’t lay eggs and produce very little meat, which is why they are being disposed of right after hatching.

Global impact

Worldwide, 3.2 billion male chickens are being killed every year. This happens with the laying chickens of all housing types. It doesn’t matter if the chicken is caged, barn raised, free range or organic: for each hen one cockerel has died.

We love science

We believe that by applying science in a smart way, we can offer a practical and innovative solution for this problem. Together with some of the best scientists in the field of biotechnology, biology and biochemistry, we work around the clock to make our vision a reality.

Everyone wins

This project will prove that animal welfare and efficiency go hand in hand. Together with our partners and the supporters of our consortium, we will be able to show that our innovation can change the poultry industry forever, to everyone’s benefit.

In Ovo news

European Parliament hemicycle - Photo: Robyn Mack / CC BY 2.0

In Ovo among EU Top 50 innovative start-ups!

This year’s European Innovation Summit features a brand new event on Tuesday 28 November: the EU Top 50 Millennial Start-up Competition. For the past few months, Europe’s most promising millennial seed-stage founders where recruited. Their companies are leveraging technology to build scalable solutions and address Europe’s most pressing challenges. We […]

27 November 2017 0
Nationaal Icoon verkiezing bij DWDD

In Ovo in National Icon top 10

On Tuesday 18 October minister Henk Kamp (economic affairs) announced the three winners of the 2016 National Icon election. The Dutch cabinet has selected three projects that illustrate the innovative strengths of the Netherlands, able to develop technological solutions for societal challenges. In Ovo was among the ten finalists in […]

19 October 2016 0
Nationale Iconen Finalisten 2016

In Ovo candidate for National Icon 2016

Today the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs presented the ten finalists for the second National Icon competition. In this competition, an initiative from the cabinet, a jury led by Hans Wijers selects the most ground-breaking innovations in the Netherlands. National Icons develop technological solutions for societal challenges, such as climate […]

7 September 2016 0

Help by sharing our awesome video!

Please help us reach as many people as possible by sharing our video! This animation, made by our friends from Public Cinema, briefly explains how we want to prevent the mass killing of day-old male chickens in the poultry industry. Each year, over 3.2 billion chickens are killed by either […]

24 May 2016 0
Day-old laying hen - Photo: Wil Stutterheim

One step closer to kill-free hatcheries

The Dutch biotech start-up In Ovo is the first company to develop a large-scale solution for determining the sex of a chick while it is still in the egg. This fast and cheap technique can be applied mechanically at hatcheries, which was not possible before. In Ovo’s innovation brings us […]

24 May 2016 0
In Ovo in de Volkstrant - De Onderneming - 21-09-2015 - Foto: Cigdem Yuksel

In Ovo in de Volkskrant

Haan of hen? Eindelijk antwoord dankzij In Ovo Voor elke legkip wordt een haantje vergast of gehakseld. Dat kan anders, dacht Wouter Bruins. Hij ontdekte stofjes die al in het ei het geslacht verraden en werkt nu aan een selectieapparaat. Over eieren hadden Wouter Bruins en Wil Stutterheim vijf jaar […]

Contact us

Address: J.H. Oortweg 19, Leiden, NL
Phone: +31 71 332 2876

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