Rare `sexing' skill valued highly in the poultry world

US - So much depends on Tai Toelken, his false thumbnail and an almost mystical ability to draw a simple distinction 1,200 times an hour.

Toelken is what's known as a poultry sexer. His work is to detect the minuscule anatomical differences between newly hatched male and female turkey poults. And he's paid quite well to do it 2 million times a year.

In the business of birds, Toelken is a rare and coveted breed of worker.

So important is the task that specially trained sexers - typically from Korea - immigrate to do a job many poultry experts cannot. In fact, without the services of a few dozen sexers in Missouri, the state's thriving turkey industry would likely collapse.

That often strikes Toelken as fascinating when he sits down to sort birds at the Ag Forte hatchery in Neosho. The plant is a temple of poultry science and breeding technology, where a finely calibrated orchestra of gadgets harmonizes to hatch 11 million birds a year.

Source: ledger-enquirer.com
calendar icon 29 July 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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