I went out this morning. I was out about 3 hours, and my stupid father thought it would be a BRILLIANT idea to move TWO WHOLE BROODERS of chicks outside INTO DIRECT SUNLIGHT and WITHOUT WATER. And it's about 30* Celsius today - in the shade! I don't like to think how hot it is in direct sunlight. I got home to find the two brooders full of inert, unmoving chicks, lying down with their mouths open. There were 60 chicks there - and now 29 are dead and 4 are in 'intensive care'. "I'm sorry," he says, "I thought it would be all right. I've seen them outside before." Yes, dear father, yes you have - on cool days (below 25 degrees), with water and shade. What possessed you to put them in the sun, on concrete, with no water or shade? "Oh... I didn't really think. I'm sorry." Yes, well, 'sorry' doesn't quite cut it, not when TWENTY-NINE chicks are dead, FOUR are almost dead, and FIVE of the dead ones were special ones - the rest were just general mixed-breed layer-type hens - these others were frizzled and silkied. You know, if it were my younger sister, who knows zip about caring for anything, maybe I could understand this. But it's my father, who claims to have been raising poultry since he was a child. Who once said to my mother (a few weeks ago), "I think Rachel almost knows as much about chickens as I do." Well... yeah, right. Think again. Who has lost all 24 of his flock to foxes this year? Who just MURDERED 29 innocent chicks? I suppose I shouldn't be mad at him. After all -- he's English. He probably doesn't realise that THE SUN IS NOT YOUR FRIEND! Actually, I knew that - he goes out shirtless to work in the yard in summer and sunbathes without sunscreen and get a horrible burn because, apparently, having a tan or sunburn is some sort of weird 'status symbol'. Well, maybe in England, but over here it's a symbol that you were too stupid to slip, slop, slap. And I shouldn't have gone out - I should have stayed and kept an eye on the chicks, made sure they had water and shade. I should have taken better care of them - I mean, to all intents and purposes I'm their mother - they're mine. I'm obviously not a very good mother if I let them die.