The chicken farmer, Rod Zanders, used to have huge stables as far back as Poland, but nowadays he’s successful with Kipster, the climate-neutral, animal-friendly eggs that Lidl sells. Kipster eggs have recently been sold in the United States.
In Kiepster’s stables, the chickens mostly eat discarded leftovers, such as crumbly rusks, crackers and stale bread. Fits Zanders vision of feeding chickens rejected food. He believes that traditional farming has a very big impact on the climate. In his opinion, animals should not use good fertile farmland to grow food for them. They should be fed leftovers as often as possible.
Zanders is also critical of his sector when it comes to animal welfare. According to Zanders, keeping animals commercially in an animal-friendly manner is actually impossible. But if it does, he thinks it’s the best with a minimum of 3 stars in Beter Leven Keurmerk. In Kipster, the handling of cockerels is the most striking.
Obviously, male chicks do not lay eggs, so in poultry farming they are usually killed as soon as they hatch. At Kipster, roosters are raised for up to fourteen weeks and then processed into meat. In this way, their lives were not worthless.
The story of Kipster – which Zanders founded with Maurits Groene, Olivier Wiglob and Steen Klassens – is captivating with consumer interest. First, there were three Kippster stables in the Netherlands, followed by four new stables recently in the United States. In America, eggs are sold by Kroger, the second largest supermarket in that country. As with Lidl, Kipster has also negotiated a purchase guarantee with this supermarket. There are also far-reaching plans for Pigster, a company in which pigs are also fed leftovers.
Zanders is a much sought after guest in the media. Also because he’s the chairman of the Caring Farmers Group, a group of 350 farmers who believe that farming should “recognize animals as living, intelligent beings with emotions and feelings.” Sometimes his attitude costs him dear, especially since a number of colleagues from traditional farming blame him for his critical voice. They call it a nest or worse.
At times, Zanders also sounds more like a climate activist than a chicken farmer. His vision for the future is clear: it must be done with far fewer animals and meat to reduce climate impact. Zanders themselves don’t eat any animal products, not even the eggs of their own chickens.
The first Kipster stable was established in Oirlo in Limburg in 2017, followed by Beuningen in Gelderland, which is an exact replica of the first stable. So it went with the other Kiepster stables, and it would continue to be so in the future. Kippester’s stables had to look the same everywhere so that the concept could be easily expanded, also by other farmers, if it was up to Kippester.
The Dutch Society for Animal Protection is also enthusiastic about the concept. The organization says the design “has taken the animals’ needs into account.” The chickens feed in a light room with fresh air, and there are trees and bushes for them to climb. There is also a large indoor garden and the chickens have access to the edge of a small forest.
Kippster has three stables in the Netherlands, recently followed by four new stables in the United States.
Kipster has delivered 2,148,078 boxes of eggs to Lidl in the Netherlands
Kipster employs 38 people
The Kipster Group’s net profit in 2022 was €16,686
Kebster chicken still has to count on 5 percent minerals and vitamins, and the rest comes from leftovers
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