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The poultry industry is divided into two main categories: the production of meat and the production of eggs for human consumption. Different farms will require different sexes of chickens, turkeys and other types of poultry, and it is the job of a sexer to separate the chicks after they are born, depending on their sex, so that they can be sent off to the correct farms.
If a farm specialises in producing eggs for the food market, they will only require female hens. Similarly, some farms may want a specific amount of male and female birds for breeding and meat production, depending on their individual requirements. Determining the sex of a chick, let alone a whole group of them, requires great care and attention to detail.
Sexers will work in hatcheries which look after batches of fertilised eggs until they hatch. It is a temperature controlled environment with many health and safety regulations in place to support the welfare of the staff and the birds, so great care and concentration is required. Sexers need to catch and carefully handle the chicks, before examining them and discerning their sex. This is a difficult task and taking good care of the baby chicks whilst under examination in paramount.
Sexers may also be required to maintain site biosecurity by adhering to hygiene and safety regulations and cleaning any equipment used. Hatcheries deal with many identification numbers of the batches and farms which are receiving the birds, so the working environment needs to remain very organised and systematic. Sometimes sexers may also have to assist in preparing the chicks for transit to different farms.
Hatcheries are usually units based indoors, so sexers will not typically work outside. Whilst sexers can work a full 38 hour week, at busy periods there may be opportunities for temporary or part-time work.