Chick Sexer – The $60,000-a-Year Job Nobody Seems to Want

By Michael Avery in Facts and DIY On 1st October 2015


Believe it or not, ‘chick sexer' is a real job, and it pays quite handsomely. For over $60,000 a year, a chick sexer has to look at chicks' backsides all day to determine if they are male or female.

The process, known as ‘vent sexing' involves squeezing the faeces out of the chick and opening up the its anal vent, to check for a small ‘bump' that indicates it is male. Understandably, the job doesn't have many takers, and British poultry farmers are struggling to attract employees to fill the position.


Although it sounds easy, chick sexing is quite complicated and requires an incredible amount of skill. Workers are specially trained on how to spot ‘miniscule differences' in the size and shape of a chick's genitalia to ascertain whether it will grow up to be a rooster or a hen.

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Chick sexers are expected to sort 800-1,200 chicks an hour, with a 97-98 percent accuracy that's just three seconds per bird. "It takes three years to train someone so they develop the sensitivity and dexterity to reliably sex the bird and a lot of people don't want to spend that amount of time training," said Andrew Large, chief executive of the British Poultry Council.


"I think the problem is the job itself," he added. "You are spending hours every day staring at the backside of a chick. That is not seen as attractive." The role is so short-staffed that the poultry industry has asked for it to be included on an official government list of occupations with shortage of manpower. As of now, there are only 100 to 150 chick sexers in the U.K. Not a single sexer was recruited last year.

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Being included in the list would allow farmers to recruit people from outside the European Union. For example, in South Korea, chick sexing is considered a high status job. "In southeast Asia, a chick sexer is a high status job. In the UK it is more likely to be the butt of humour," Large said.