CUXHAVEN, Germany – The world's largest producer of egg-laying hens in Germany has developed a chicken that can supply both eggs and meat called the "Lohmann Dual", Der Spiegel reported. The development comes at critical time as German government officials consider banning the practice of culling male chicks.

Lohmann Tierzucht developed its Lohmann Dual in response to criticism of poultry industry practices regarding male chicks. Millions of male chicks are destroyed each year because they can't lay eggs, and they don't produce much meat because of their breed, the article noted. The Lohmann Dual produces hens that can produce 250 eggs per year, while the males are fit for broiler production at around 70 days old.

But while the dual-purpose chicken holds promise, Lohmann Tierzucht has experienced drawbacks to marketing the chickens and eggs. The Lohmann Dual hens lay fewer and smaller eggs compared to conventional hens, and the male birds require more feed than conventional broilers before they are ready for slaughter. Additionally, the birds have been a turn-off to consumers. The high cost of feeding the birds means the eggs and meat are more expensive than conventional chicken. Also, the Lohmann Dual is thin on breast meat. It has meaty thighs, but thigh meat isn't as popular.