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.