Horrible chicken accident with my daughter

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,119
2,816
252
Northwest Ohio
I am so sorry for this. I wouldn’t have her avoid chickens all together but instead retrain her on how to be gentle.

My thought process leads me to the hen having been killed and then placed into the container. Maybe too hard of a hug or an accidental grab breaking it’s neck. She then put it into the container. The second was also placed in, but without the poor luck.

Does she remember the process? She should.
 

Overo Mare

I will NOT be shushed!
Premium Feather Member
Aug 26, 2019
11,907
96,983
1,096
Smalltown Virginia, USA
Let's break this into two parts... kids and chickens.

KID: You, mother did nothing wrong. Nor did your child. The situation is terrible but your daughter likely left the chickens in the feed bin because your fat ladies were in there having a grand old time at the buffet and she knows to close the feed bin when you leave. Or possibly she just wanted to put them in the feed bin because it's food and what a better place for chickens! There's no chance of any ill will there- and like any parent you just have to do your best and sometimes things happens, no one is perfect. I wouldn't even mention the dead chicken to her, but it wouldn't hurt to say something simple like "and let's make sure there are no chickens in the feed bin when we leave or close it".

CHICKEN: It's incredible that your Aus. didn't make it, sorry to hear that- but I have to think somehow it was just her time. Judging that the BR did fine and given the relatively short period of time- something "odd" happened. Usually in the dark chickens will just hunker down, it's nature. Likely in this case the BR decided to go a bit nuts trying to get out (or both of them) and it escalated when they were running into each other in the dark and that there was unlevel ground (feed) moving under their feet - there was an accident of birds smashing into birds. No visible injury likely means some kind of blunt force issue- likely a neck break. Or, something just unknowable or pre-existing condition that manifested just then. I suppose it is possible that she suffocated too, but given that the BR just "jumped out" that doesn't seem likely to me because she would have been low on air at that point too and a single breath isn't going to magically revive her in 1 second. There's also the chance something happened before the chicken was in the bin and she was placed in there, maybe your daughter accidentally squeezed her too hard or grabbed her by the head, or was too rough putting the Aus in there or put the lid on too hard and hit her. But in any of those situation a 4-year old is too young to comprehend the magnitude of death in the situation and you should just try to teach her proper handling, etc. Again, really no way to know what happened so I wouldn't go overboard.

Either way- no one is at fault and sadly chickens die all the time. It's our job to do our best to keep them alive and happy for their short chicken lives and you, and your daughter, did all you could to do that. So all is good in Chicken Karma and your life. Sad, but move on and keep enjoying the rest of your flock!
This x 1,000!

Do not for one second think your little meant to harm them. Children don't process cause and effect as we do. Especially at 4. I have a 5 year old daughter. She too loves to pick her chickens up and tote them around and is constantly trying to put them on or in things where they shouldn't be. She doesn't understand that life can be fragile or that stuffing a chicken in her coat as if she's a momma kangaroo could smother the poor "joey". She's just loving her chickens and playing with them.

That's where we as parents step in and make it a learning experience. "I know that you love your Nilla, but she won't be able to breathe in your coat. It's okay to pick her up and hold her, give her a quick hug, then put her down. She needs her own space." Teach your little how to properly pick them up and hold them. Teach her about stress and how chickens get stressed out easily. I use that as a tool for all animals with my children. It sounds quite silly, but once they understand, it works. "Don't do X,Y,Z because it will stress so-and-so out. You know what could happen if they get too stressed." (I tell them that when animals get too scared (stressed) they can die.) My kids love all animals and have learned to respect them this way. Takes a lot of trial and error, but eventually they understand and become more open to seeing potential danger in what they do with them.

Hope that made sense. It was sort of hard to explain haha.

Big hugs momma. Until she understands, you've got to have eyes on all sides of your head. Pretty sure I still have all those eyes. Just finally don't need them quite as much. :hugs
 

dougieee

Songster
May 7, 2019
153
516
131
England, Midlands
When i was a child i chopped the head off one of my chickens with a shovel, i was gardening and it just appeared out of nowhere to snatch a worm......... as i slammed the shovel into the ground......... my mum ran down the garden to me screaming, covered in blood, needless to say that little episode haunted me for a few years and nearly gave my poor mother a heart attack.
 

samsnonna2048

In the Brooder
Aug 29, 2020
30
34
33
PA
When my husband was about your daughters age he put a puppy in an outside milk box and it suffocated. Don't stress, she didn't do it on purpose. You're a good mom.
 

SulkyBantam

Flock Consultant
Nov 3, 2020
2,305
6,192
283
Ireland
My Coop
I'm so sorry.
It must be traumatic for you, your daughter and the living hen.
Helping her to understand that it was not the right thing to do, but not blaming or judging her at all, will prevent future accidents of this kind.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
5,063
54,562
1,207
Midgard
Once my sister when she was about 4 wrapped her chick up in a paper towel (to catch the poop while she held it, it’s head was sticking out) and it fell asleep and she sat it down to go do something, and then forgot where she left it. This was in our unfinished basement and I was panicking! It could have been anywhere and it could easily hide or have something fall on it, luckily I found it. Another time we were at a friends house and my other little sister chased their rooster to hold it, and it had a heart attack and died. I was absolutely mortified, especially because it was one of their sons’ favorite They said it had heart problems but I don’t know if they said that to make us feel better. I’m extremely tight when it comes to chicken rules—some incidents resulted in my sister not being allowed to touch my ducks at all and I always glance out the window every once in a while when she’s out there to make sure things are ok. It was definitely not your fault that that happened, we all make mistakes sometimes. What’s important though, is what we learn from it. I’ve made some huge mistakes with the chickens (I was tube feeding once and overestimated the amount and the hen aspirated and died, she was my absolute favorite) but I’ve learned to overcome the guilt because I know my heart is for all of them to have perfect happy lives—mistakes happen though. I’m sorry for your loss :hugs
 

SulkyBantam

Flock Consultant
Nov 3, 2020
2,305
6,192
283
Ireland
My Coop
Once my sister when she was about 4 wrapped her chick up in a paper towel (to catch the poop while she held it, it’s head was sticking out) and it fell asleep and she sat it down to go do something, and then forgot where she left it. This was in our unfinished basement and I was panicking! It could have been anywhere and it could easily hide or have something fall on it, luckily I found it. Another time we were at a friends house and my other little sister chased their rooster to hold it, and it had a heart attack and died. I was absolutely mortified, especially because it was one of their sons’ favorite They said it had heart problems but I don’t know if they said that to make us feel better. I’m extremely tight when it comes to chicken rules—some incidents resulted in my sister not being allowed to touch my ducks at all and I always glance out the window every once in a while when she’s out there to make sure things are ok. It was definitely not your fault that that happened, we all make mistakes sometimes. What’s important though, is what we learn from it. I’ve made some huge mistakes with the chickens (I was tube feeding once and overestimated the amount and the hen aspirated and died, she was my absolute favorite) but I’ve learned to overcome the guilt because I know my heart is for all of them to have perfect happy lives—mistakes happen though. I’m sorry for your loss :hugs
Exactly. Though no one should be blamed, for the good of your chickens, put some rules in place.
 

DogAndCat36

Crowing
Mar 12, 2020
1,953
5,179
316
Northern Maine
There was also this one time that I and my sister got one of the chicks and put it on a stool and forgot about it. Found it hours later cold and sick, it survived.
 

path.otto

Songster
Jul 10, 2017
218
461
162
Mason City, IA
My sister when she was smaller was holding a chick and squeeze it way, way to hard... And killed it.
This year I accidentally stepped on a 2-3 month old Pullet. She died.
Maybe your daughter was trying to cetch the hen, not kill them.
I'm pretty sure her daughter wasn't actually trying to kill the chickens on purpose for heaven's sake!
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
5,425
14,519
747
Western Ohio
a 4yo meant no harm. Like a previous poster indicated, she likely thought they would love being in with the feed and didn't think too much of it. No need to even bring it up again - she's 4. Like another poster, just ask her - "now no chickens are in the feed bin, are there?" or something equally benign.

My kid, who loves animals, got a hamster at a young 5 age. She always held it with us right there. Well, as is typical, she held it a bit too tight at first, not wanting it to run off. It squeaked indicating it was being held too tight. As a parent, I said "don't hold so tight, see it squeaked bc it was too tight". Well, I guess the squeak was so cute that she would always squeeze the poor little hamster to hear the squeak, followed by our instruction to not do that. The hamster lived about 4 days before it died, I'll assume from internal injuries. We were right there, and showed her how to hold it, explained not to squeeze, but you also have to give them opportunities to learn. Maybe the hamster had something else wrong with it, making it more fragile, I'll never know. We took that loss and never got another hamster.

Chickens die - maybe it was weaker than the other for some reason, maybe it suffocated, maybe it freaked out and had a heart attack. You'll never know!
 

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