Dutch biotech start-up In Ovo from Leiden has perfected a large-scale technique for determining the sex of day-old chicks, which could soon end the practice of killing millions of male chicks in the Netherlands after eggs have hatched.
According to founders Wouter Bruins and Wil Stutterheim, In Ovo is the first company to be able to determine the gender of an unhatched egg in a matter of seconds, while other techniques for doing so, such as measuring the level of estrogen in the egg, takes four hours and is very expensive.
In Ovo has identified new substances that indicate the sex of an egg as early the ninth day of incubation. These substances are fast and quite easy to detect, according to Bruins. The technique has been tested at a Dutch hatchery, where the company was able to hatch roosters and hens separately on several occasions. The method is also fast enough to separate large amounts of eggs automatically, and so the first prototype for a sorting device is currently being developed.
The company’s video explains that around the world 3.2 billion roosters are killed each year. Besides an incredible amount of animal suffering, determining the gender of chicks would mean hatching less eggs, which means lowering energy consumption and CO2 output.
Dutchman Marcel Heijnen, originally from The Hague, lives in Hong Kong, China and likes to take pictures of shop owner’s cats. You can follow him at @ChineseWhiskers on instagram.
Surprised at how successful his cat pics are, he is planning on publishing a book, called ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ this September, with a book on Hong Kong market cats to follow by the beginning of next year. Both books will feature a haiku by Singaporean poet Ian Row, as well as an essay by Hong Kong-based British writer Catharine Nicol.
Shop owners have told Heijnen that they keep cats to repel rodents, but then they do that in The Netherlands as well. Heijnen, who previously lived in Singapore, said he is always careful not to identify the specific location of the businesses he visits so they are not bombarded with visitors.
Watching the cows finally go outside in the spring is a great Dutch tradition, and now that tradition was taken to the next level with some fine bovine camera work.
Entitled ‘it’s Cow or Never’, a play on words of the Elvis song ‘It’s Now or Never’ (a cover of the old Neapolitan song O Sole Mio), you can pretend you’re a dancing cow and watch yourself from above and below thanks to the power of editing and two GoPro cameras attached to a happy cow.
The cows come from a cheese far in Dronten, Flevoland. The farmer claims the cows were jealous of the cow with the new gadget, because the filming cow’s cameras ended up in the mud after 15 min due to some head butting.
Check out the sniffing, nuzzling and head butts for yourself:
Last summer we told you about a new law that allowed Dutch citizens to call for a non-binding referendum, in this case to veto Ukraine’s entry to the European Union. On 6 April, the Dutch will vote on a non-binding referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, a vote and campaign that happens to fall at the same time as the Dutch presidency of the European Union — as if they didn’t have enough on their plate already.
One things the Dutch Party for the Animals doesn’t want on their plate is chicken, so they’re encouraging people to vote ‘no’ in the video below. One of the baddies happens to be one of the world’s biggest producer of broiler chickens for starters. As well, a lot of people throw around the word ‘oligarch’ without knowing what it means, now you can learn more about it and hear how horrible it sounds in Dutch.
“According to Transparency International Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe. Ukraine is ruled by oligarchs. Take Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP): it is one of the biggest poultry producers in the world and annually slaughters 332 million chickens.”
Long story short, billionaire Yuriy Kosiuk owns it, puts his money in tax havens in Luxembourg and Cyprus, is friends with President Poroshenko and has his fingers in way too many pies. The Dutch Party for the Animals considers him and the Ukrainian government corrupt, and wouldn’t be totally wrong in saying so. MHP’s motto is “if you want something done well, do it yourself”, and that seems to include bullying the government.
Ukraine has always been the doormat doorway to Russia, stuck between maintaining old Soviet relations and sucking up to the European Union. The people of Ukraine are the real losers of any deal, chickens and all.
A mechanic peregrine falcon was named the best innovation of the year at the European Robotics Forum in Ljubljana this week, Tubantia reports.
The winning robot is called Robird and is made by Clear Flight Solutions from Enschede, a spin-off of the University of Twente. It mimics the flight of the peregrine falcon and is used to keep the air space near airports clear from birds such as geese.
In an interview in 2014 with RTV Noord Holland (see below), CEO Nico Nijenhuis said that real falcons will only hunt when hungry. They also tire quickly. “Once [a peregrine falcon] has made two flights in a row, it’s really tired. [Our robot] on the other hand keeps going. You swap out a battery and it’s good to go.”
Clear Flight Solutions received 1.6 million euro in funding from the Cottonwood Technology Fund last week and is in talks with Schiphol Airport for a pilot project [pun unavoidable]. Nijenhuis told RTL Nieuws last week: “Dutch rules are very strict, but we expect to have our paperwork in order within six weeks.”
According to the Dutch media, supermarkets usually claim that their eggs are unfertilised. However, a woman who decided to test her new incubator found out just how untrue this claim actually is.
Fionna Bottema bought two dozen quail eggs and managed to hatch six of them, which would mean at least half of the eggs she bought were fertilised. Bottema had an incubator for owl eggs, but since she didn’t have any of their eggs, she decided to use quail eggs, ‘on a lark’. The eggs were bought at supermarket chain Albert Heijn, but eggs from elsewhere could have had the same results, said Bottema.
The idea that the eggs could become chicks, as opposed to buying eggs that would not, bothers consumers. And of course the fact that supermarkets are lying because very few people would challenge their claim by actually hatching eggs. A spokesperson for Albert Heijn tried to spin Bottema’s claim by saying that a hen must have broken free, which still means that supermarkets in fact do sell fertilised eggs and have no way of guaranteeing that they do not.
Instead of scaring off seagulls with eagle noises like in Haarlem in 2015, the Dutch police have stepped up their game and are now training eagles to knock out ‘enemy’ drones out of the air. The idea was to find a way to get rid of drones that are not allowed to fly in certain spaces, such as protected airspaces. The video below tells of a trauma helicopter not being able to land because some moron was flying a drone and blocking the way or another moron flying their drone next to busy Schiphol Airport.
Finding the drone pilot can be very difficult and take a long time, a policeman explains. The eagle in the video grabs the drone with its talons, which are designed to carry things as opposed to just having claws like many other animals. There’s also less impressive tools they plan to use such as casting a net over the drone somehow. “The eagle sees the drone as prey and wants to bring it to a safe location and protect it from outsiders”. The trainers are not worried about the propellers hurting the animal, although opinions might differ on that point. The eagle may even get special gear for protection.
It’s in Dutch, but it’s all about watching the eagle catch the drone.
There’s a few different kinds of crayfish that can be found in The Netherlands, but the ‘invasive’ Procambarus clarkii, aka Louisiana crayfish, the one associated with Cajun cooking, has become a pest in De Groene Hart (The Green Hart) area.
The quick and muddy explanation is that those suckers dig and destroy, bully indigenous European crayfish and eat indigenous species of amphibians for starters. So why can’t my dream of having Cajun cuisine in this country come true? In recent years, fishers, chefs and food specialists have been trying to get people to turn these pests into food, but crayfish isn’t often on the menu here despite their abundance.
You’ll find crayfish in streams after rainfall and sometimes in people’s gardens. They have this famous aggressive look that says ‘back off or maybe it’s ‘halleluia’ with a southern American accent. The expert in this video (Dutch) will even tell you what the male genitalia looks like and everything.
It’s free food, people, let’s get some Cajun cooking going. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Thalia de Jong from Rotterdam likes fluffy animals. In this film she presents Golden Boy, a prize-winning guinea pig that has a really elaborate hair routine in order to look perfect for his shows. Truth is, he looks more like Albert Einstein’s hair went solo.
In her work, she tries to capture the essential quality of a subject, from fluffy guinea pig to the quirky look of a ceramic vase. “I keep the concept simple and smart, but love losing myself in the details of making something so minimal.” The cuteness factor and the music are good reasons to watch this video.
A new type of gold wasp, the rainbow wasp, was spotted for the first time this summer in the woods of Limburg. It took a while to identify it, but with the help of an Estonian expert, the colourful critter was found to be a Chrysis equestris, part of a family of wasps called ‘cuckoo wasps’.
Besides their beautiful colours, these incandescent wasps are ‘kleptoparasitic’, laying eggs in others insects’ nests, hence the cuckoo reference. The baby wasps then eat the eggs or larva in the nest, a bit like crashing a banquet.
The Netherlands has 57 types of wasps flying around.