Animal welfare policy and commitments
Animal welfare is highly valued around the world. At Kenchic, we recognise that there is a clear connection between animal health, productivity and consumer preferences. In our effort to exceed both national and international standards, we guarantee the five animal ‘freedoms’ stated below:
Freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst
Freedom from fear and distress
Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury and disease
Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior
In our effort to uphold these freedoms, we maintain the birds’ wellbeing according to the following policies:
- We keep breeder stocking density at six birds per square metre, while our open-sided broiler production stocking density is twenty kilos per square metre. For our environmentally controlled broiler production, our target is to aim for a maximum stocking density of thirty kilos per square metre by 2030. These measures prevent excessive temperatures and humidity, competition, stress, aggression, and abnormal behaviour.
- We maintain a policy of zero tolerance against cages or multi-tiered systems across all our operations. All floors in our poultry units are non-slip and are covered with 4-6 cm depth of litter in the breeders and 5-11 cm for our commercial broilers. This is continuously turned to maintain dryness and friability.
- We provide enrichment materials such as perches at a ratio of two metres of perching space for 1,000 birds, and two pecking objects for 1,000 birds, in both our direct and contract farms.
- We provide at least one nest box for every 4.5 hens in our breeder operations.
- We provide access to natural light, with at least eight hours of continuous darkness per 24 hour period in our open-sided houses, and a commitment to provide at least 50 lux of light by 2030 in our environmentally controlled units.
- We ensure good air quality by limiting ammonia and carbon dioxide concentrations to below 20 ppm and 3,000 ppm respectively.
We adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes. This is done to meet the criteria of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol. The breeds kept in our operations have been proven to suit the tropical environment.
In addition, the company is continuously looking to bring in slower growing breeds and other breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes. Kenchic already keeps Hubbard’s JA57 and Redbro breed of chicken.
Our chickens are fed a wholesome and nutritious diet as per breed guidelines, and our feed is continuously monitored to ensure that it meets these requirements. We also ensure that forced molting is not permitted in our breeder operations.
We provide our chicken with potable water that is tested weekly. The number of drinkers and feeders exceeds international guidelines: 60 birds per drinker and 15 cm per bird for feeds for our breeder females; 20 cm of feeder space per bird at production for males. Our broilers operate at 80 birds per bell drinker, 12-15 birds per nipple drinker and 50-65 birds per feeder for our commercial broilers.
Each of our poultry units has an isolation pen for isolating sick and injured birds for treatment.
We also have culling protocols to reduce the suffering of birds that are too sick or maimed.
All our staff are trained to recognise signs of disease and injury, and our veterinarians are on standby to address issues on the farm within twelve hours.
We will always produce chicken that is free from antibiotic residues, and our in-house laboratory carries out regular product surveillance to ensure we keep this promise. We do not apply antibiotics for prophylactic use. Furthermore, prescription-only medicines are only used after diagnosis and prescription by our veterinarians.
We support humane slaughter by:
- Actively pressing our suppliers to support the latest research projects to find alternatives to electrical water baths as a matter of urgency
- Supporting the call for the use of water bath stunning to be progressively phased out, for more humane systems without conscious inversion
- Ensuring that meat chickens are caught gently without inverting them, and that the journey for both meat chicken and Day-old chicks is less than five hours.
We ensure that only Day-Old Chick customers with transport vessels that meet the Kenya Bureau of Standards Specifications on animal welfare will be allowed to buy chicks from our operations.
We demonstrate compliance with all the above standards via annual third-party auditing and public reporting on progress towards all our commitments. Furthermore, we work with international restaurant chains and animal welfare organisations in our quest to ensure that we exceed international standards and consumer expectations.
In the coming years, we plan to grow our portfolio of partners in this journey to ensure that we live by our commitments. We view this as a key step in improving animal welfare throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.