Necessity, Plato wrote, is the mother of invention. It is also, in certain cases, the mother of unbelievably weird and disgusting jobs. In the world of commercial chicken hatcheries, it is necessary to quickly and efficiently determine the sex of thousands of newborn chicks. Egg companies pay good money for chicks, and tiny roosters are useless to them.
The trouble is that chicken genitalia are notoriously difficult to find, especially on fluffy newborn chicks. The solution is a technique honed in the 1930s in Japan called "venting," in which the chicken sexer literally squeezes the crap out of the day-old chick in order to get a good view of its, uh, goods. Tiny bumps indicate a male, while a flat surface is female.
Japanese chicken sexers are employed at hatcheries around the world, prized for their uncanny ability to squeeze and sort 8,000 chicks a day at 99.7 percent accuracy. Despite generous salaries — up to $15,000 a month — and international travel, the chicken sexing profession is slumping in Japan, leaving room for enterprising youngsters around the world to step into this lucrative, if ludicrous profession [source: Slodkowski].