The Wirral schoolboy on a mission to save battery hens

PUBLISHED: 09:57 13 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:54 20 February 2013

The Wirral schoolboy on a mission to save battery hens

The Wirral schoolboy on a mission to save battery hens

A Wirral schoolboy who is worried about battery farming wrote to the Queen and was delighted by a reply from the Palace<br/>WORDS BY GEORGIA SMITH

Sam Keenan is passionate about animals, particularly chickens. The 12-year-old, who is in Year Eight at Birkenhead School, wrote to the Queen outlining his views against battery hens.

And he was delighted by a royal response. He soon received a reply to the effect that Her Majesty had directed that his letter be passed straight to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Sam told Cheshire Life why he was moved to put pen to paper. He said: I was buying some chickens from a battery farm and I really didnt like what I saw. I just thought, How is this possibly legal? So I wrote my letter to the Queen, and I got a reply back saying that it had been passed on to DEFRA, and then they sent me a letter too. I was really proud and pleased when I got the replies, especially because I got it in the school newsletter, he said.

A keen animal lover, Sam, from Saughall Massie, spends much of his spare time rescuing battery hens which are about to be retired. He nurses them back to health, then sells them on to good homes to live out the rest of their lives. He said: I like birds, theyre cool creatures. They wont fly away, and its fun to hatch them.

Sams parents smallholding means that he can look after up to 50 birds at any one time and the profit he makes from selling, goes straight back to rescuing more hens. Once rehabilitated, battery hens make good layers, so Sam also sells their eggs and adds the money he makes to the rescue war chest.

He explained: I first got the idea when my brothers were running businesses, and I wanted to make money too, so I thought Id keep chickens and sell their eggs. I cant keep count of them all, but Id say I have about 20 or 30 at the moment.

He encourages everyone to have a go at keeping chickens: They are so easy to look after and you only need a very small area if you just have two. They are great at recycling the food waste that you would throw into the bin - into eggs! No smelly bins is a bonus. Chickens even eat the waste egg shells which are good for them. Virtually all back yards in Liverpool and Wirral would have had couple of chickens in the past, so you need very little space to keep a few happy chickens.

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