'Chick sexers' with 'delicate hands' in hot demand

You need delicate hands and to be comfortable sitting in a dark room, but the job of a 'chick sexer' may not be quite what you're imagining at first thought.

The role of cloacal chick sexer is a vital one for our poultry industry, and as we found out, a skill with a rich history.

Poultry breeding company Aviagen is advertising for a 'Poultry Gender Technician - Cloacal Chick Sexer' for its hatchery in New Plymouth.

But just what is a cloacal chick sexer?

On further investigation, we discovered a cloacal chick sexer determines the sex of a baby chick.

The role of cloacal chick sexer is a vital one for for the poultry industry.
The role of cloacal chick sexer is a vital one for for the poultry industry. Photo credit: Getty

Most experts in "vent" or "cloacal" sexing come from Japan, where the method of distinguishing the birds' sexual organs at one-day-old was invented in 1933.

It helped revolutionise the poultry business, with Japanese sexers in demand internationally for their skills, said Reuters.

Determining the sex of the chickens is important to the poultry industry as the females lay eggs for commercial sale, while some males are retained for meat.

There was even a school for learning the skill launched in 1933  Zen-Nippon Chick Sexing School in Japan, attended by poultry breeders from around the world.

However in recent times, the number of chick sexing professional has dropped off, with NBC news reporting in 2015 on a chicken sexer crisis

"Once seen as a popular job in places like Japan, fewer people are showing an interest, with the U.K. only having a current total of 100 to 150 "chick sexers," it said.

So what are the skills needed to master the art of chick sexing?

There are three main areas to master, according to news and lifestyle website profoundjourneys.com

1) delicate hands so that you don't damage the day-old chicks

2) the ability to sit under a spotlight in a darkened room for up to thirteen hours at a time as the chicks roll by on a conveyor belt

3) laser-sharp concentration and focus for hours

Aviagen said the successful applicant will be one of a team of highly competent Sexers who sex day old Ross breeder chicks.

"Proven experience in a high volume hatchery is essential. A demonstrated current skill level providing 98.5 percent accuracy, 48.5 percent sexing split and a minimum sexing rate of 900 chicks per hour is imperative," it said.

"Working days and hours were dependent on the hatch schedule and this changes on a week to week basis."

Sound like the job for you?

Applications for the job of Cloacal Chick Sexer at Aviagen close October 1st