One of eight Porirua children allegedly cruelly treated by their parents would come home from school at lunchtime to feed her baby sibling.
The children were taken from their Porirua home in March 2010 after a social worker spoke to the girl's older sister at school, a jury in the High Court at Wellington has been told.
The children's parents, a mother aged 42 and father, 55, have pleaded not guilty of child cruelty. Each is also charged with sexually abusing some of the children.
One of their drinking companions, 56, known to the children as an "uncle", is accused of sex offences against the oldest girl before she turned 11. He is also charged with assaulting one of the boys with a hammer.
The father is also accused of assaulting some of the children.
The oldest girl, now 13, said the baby who was about four months old when the children were taken from their parents, needed special feeding and she would sometimes come home from school at lunchtime to feed the baby.
Police and social workers have said the house was cluttered and dirty and the children seemed happy to leave.
A younger sister, now 11, told the court today her mother's drinking had made her angry.
Her mother would have friends to visit and play music loudly. The kitchen door would be closed and the children were told to stay away from the adults.
She agreed that sometimes she thought her mother could not help drinking.
She was shown photographs of her brothers' bedroom with piles of clothes and said the room was not always that messy.
Sometimes her parents would tidy up but then the room would become untidy again. Sometimes her mother would sort through bags of clothing to see what the children had finished with and what could be sold.
The trial is expected to continue next week.
- The Dominion Post