Chester pupils give ex-battery chickens lease of life


Steve Creswell

A BROOD of six c-lucky chickens have swapped cramped cages for a palatial coop – thanks to a group of caring schoolchildren.

Pupils at Saighton Church of England Primary School agreed to look after three ex-battery hens, named Henrietta, Starbuck and Betty, on a temporary basis last year.

But they felt so sorry for the hens that through the father of one of the pupils – who works for the company – they applied for a grant from MBNA Foundation, which is based in Chester .

The grant was approved and the youngsters received ed £2,500 to build a huge enclosure, meaning they could adopt a further three chickens.

Mavis Sellers, headteacher at the school, said: “A huge amount of work has gone into the hen project and it has exceeded all of our expectations. It’s been a genuine pleasure to watch the children develop their ecological knowledge. The hens have become an invaluable part of school life and enriched the children’s education.”

Pupils have devised their own schedule to care for the hens and make sure the coop is cleaned on a regular basis.

Eggs are collected throughout the week and sold to the local community on ‘Free Range Fridays’, with all proceeds being reinvested back into the project to buy food and equipment.

Mrs Sellers added: “We have achieved the Eco-Schools ‘green flag’ award, which recognises schools that embed sustainable and environmental principles into the heart of school life. This grant has contributed to this goal.

“On behalf of the school and pupils we want to thank MBNA for its support in helping us provide something that will benefit our children for many years to come.”

Robert Boulton from MBNA’s customer solutions department, applied for the donation on behalf of his nine-year-old son who attends the school.

He said: “The hen husbandry project is fantastic and I’m delighted to have been able to help the school in this way. My two sons have both attended Saighton CE Primary and it’s great to give something back through this donation, which should last many years and help the children learn more about how to look after animals.

“The hens are ex-battery so it’s great to know that they have a new home where the children will be able to give them lots of love and attention.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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