Saturday, April 4, 2009

Not The Mama

So we keep the chicks in a big box in the basement. It's the only room where we can shut the door and keep the cat and dog out. They're quite cozy, with a heat lamp, wood shavings for bedding, water, food... it's all good.

The girls ask often to "go downstairs and play with the chicks" and I tell them to wash their hands and be careful with the chicks. I'll go down in a little bit and check on them, making sure kids and chicks are fine.

Yesterday, Middle came running and said in a blur, "Oldest and me were playing with the chicks and then one of them got killed and it isn't moving hurry hurry come see!" Or at least that is what I think she said: chicks and killed jumped out at me and I didn't need to hear anymore.

I run down and on the chair is one of the Buff Orpington chicks. Laying on its' side, unmoving. I quickly scoop it up and it is still warm, but no breathing or fluttering of the closed eyes. It's dead. I tried mouth-to-mouth on it, and it's lungs filled up but nothing happened. I quickly counted the other chicks and one was missing.

I yelled (more like screamed), "Where's the other chick? I'm missing a Speckled Sussex one!"

Oldest hemmed and hawed, I know her expressions, she knows exactly what I am talking about and I press on, demanding she tells me where the chick is. Because I am deaf, I didn't hear any peeping or else I would have found it, Oldest picked up a winter hat and inside was the chick-- still alive, thankfully. I banished the kids upstairs and did a check on the other chicks, they seemed alright.

Poor chicky.. she started to cool in my hands and I put her in an old puzzle box. I thoroughly chewed out the girls, telling them that the chicks are not toys and trying to figure out what happened.

Turns out, Oldest and Middle were pretending to be mama chickens. Oldest pretended to sit on a chick, but didn't actually sit on it. Middle sat on it. Smothered it, is the best I can explain. I was beyond mad, and sad, too. My poor chicky. I told them that we would be burying it and we would say a prayer for her soul.

Rest in peace, little one.


Stephanie D. said...

Ohhh, poor babies--all of them.

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah poor kids and chick. Your girls learned a lesson today and it will stay with them forever, don't be too cross, it is all part of learning and growing up and you know what little mothers they are! I can see the logic behind that fatal decision.

Karen Mayes said...

Oh... I do remember killing a pet guinea pig when I was a toddler... I was playing with it and I was tossing it up and down, dropping it, picking it up, tossing it up and down, so forth (I know, I know, I know... wrong me!) When it stopped moving, I was confused. My parents were understandably upset and I got a smacking. After that I learned to treat pet animals more gentle...

Sparx said...

Oh, poor little ones. I bet they always always remember this. They'll be much more careful in future I'm sure - so sad, but a lesson learned I suppose.

Shalet said...

Oooh poor baby! We've had our chicks now for 2 days. My girls keep begging begging begging to take them out to play. Given your story I think we'll have only supervised chicken time. I'm already attached to the little gals - they're just so cute!

jenny said...

Stephanie D-- Yes, poor babies. They are genuinely sorry about the chick. I hope this will stay with them and they'll remember that all life is precious.

Dj-- I know what they were trying to do, and it was cute that they wanted to play mama hen, and they also need to understand that living creatures aren't toys.

Karen-- oh! poor guinea pig! I had a mouse that I would put into one of those exercise balls so they can walk around the room in, and then I'd put it in front of the cat and the cat would whap it all around the room. I thought it was the funniest thing, but now I can only imagine the poor frightened little mousie! The things we do as kids, eh?

Sparx--I hope it is a lesson learned for them, it is for me-- don't leave them alone with the chicks!

Shalet-- hey! Welcome! Yeah, they get supervised visitation now. ha! They are getting big so fast and quickly outgrowing their box. We're trying to hurry and get the coop built so we can get them out there. Our chicks are now 3 weeks old.

Wendy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your chick. That can't have been easy for you.

We just got our first (of three planned) order of broilers. They're so cute and cuddly looking when they're this little (although, they'll outgrow their cuteness in about three weeks - broilers aren't pretty chickens, unlike our hens ;).