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Thinking Outside the Cage

Thinking Outside the Cage

Why Kipster’s chickens don’t like to be pigeonholed

The auditor from Certified Humane checked whether we meet the requirements to be certified as ‘Cage-Free’.

We are curious about the results because when it came to ‘Cage-Free’, ‘Organic’, ‘Free-Range’ or ‘Pasture’ Kipster’s chickens never really fit into any of these preordained boxes… 

Best. Life. Possible.

Here’s why. We designed our farm from scratch around the latest insights into the chicken’s needs, instincts and desires, while also taking the advice from animal welfare experts on how to give our hens the best life possible. We did not look at what boxes needed to be ticked in order to fit into certain boxes. We just looked with our farming partner MPS Egg Farms at what’s feasible when you want to offer quality of life – while also striving for the least amount of environmental impact. In other words, we ended up coloring outside the boxes of any existing categories. 

Support animal welfare organizations 

For instance, did you know chickens are forest birds? That’s why we recreate forestedges on our farms. We do not offer our chickens open pasture, because as forest birds they naturally get nervous when exposed to so much prey potential.
And did you know of the common practice of killing freshly-hatched roosters because of their shortcomings when it comes to laying eggs? With us, the brothers of the laying hens get to grow up. And that’s unprecedented. In fact, we do many things just a little – or a lot – differently. That’s why we have support from animal welfare organizations as we pursue third-party certification from Certified Humane.  

Shop With Your Heart® an ASPCA® program 

But now there’s a box we definitely fit in! Once our egg cartons bear the Certified Humane seal, they will be recognized by the ASPCA’s Shop With Your Heart® program. The program drive’s food system change by connecting American consumers to more compassionate food brands and products in the marketplace. It provides the public with a collection of dynamic guides to make choicesthat are more humane including the Shop With Your Heart GroceryList. So, we found a place we’re happy to color within the lines! And now let’s see what Certified Humane has to say to Kipster and its farming partner MSP Egg Farms… 

Some of Kipster’s Game-Changing Features

What about…

  1. Indoor? We designed a playground with daylight, natural enrichment and plenty of variation. It’s also ideal for taking on bird flu and poor weather.
  2. Outdoor? Our birds can range free in a gated outdoor playground, tailored to their needs and protected against predators.
  3. Pastures? Forest birds don’t like wide open spaces and getting wet. We aim to provide a safe haven for them close to their nests.
  4. Male chicks? Our male roosters are not culled in hatcheries. We take our responsibility and raise them for meat production to reduce broiler bird demand.
  5. Transparancy? It’s one of our core values. All farms have a visitor center, viewing windows and exhibition.
  6. Vegetarian feed? Well, chickens are omnivores. Our birds are great up-cyclers of a mix of protein sources, including from animals.
  7. Never ever antibiotics? When our birds get sick and we can cure them with antibiotics in an appropriate manner, we go for it. We want them to get better. 
  8. Never ever hormones? It goes without saying.
  9. Debeaking? We do not debeak our birds. Cannibalism is avoided by providing a varied environment.
  10. Spent hens? We catch them in the friendliest way possible.
  11. Organic? You need organic land to grow organic feed to make organic eggs. Our birds upcycle food waste. We aim to use as little agricultural land as possible. So in a way we can say we’re beyond organic.
  12. Free-range? The design of the outdoor playground is based on research from animal welfare experts. We provide suitable ground coverings, enrichment and climbable tree structures. But we see no reason why we need to offer the space to match the ‘free range’ requirements.
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Here you see the indoor playground with daylight, enrichment and fresh air. Left and right you see the nests and night quarters. Kipster & Farming Partners MPS Egg Farms, Indiana