Move away from the bin full of bunnies. Back off the chirping baby chicks or quacking ducks. Easter is NOT the time to give little fowl or rabbit.
These critters can be difficult to care for. In fact, Yahoo Voices reports that 95 percent of all rabbits purchased each Easter will not make it to their first birthday.
Before you pick up a bunny — even it you're committed to building a hutch for the long-ear critter — remember:
- Rabbits can live up to 15 years.
- Bunnies need fresh greens every day.
- Their teeth never quit growing, which means they need chew toys.
- They can learn their names and be litter box trained, but without adequate attention rabbits can develop unwanted behaviors like biting.
- Rabbits need to run, requiring daily exercise outside of their cages.
Likewise, baby fowl require substantial maintenance.
- First, check neighborhood zoning laws as the grownup version of a sweet little chick — a rooster — are usually illegal in urban areas.
- Some chicks may need to under a heat lamp or incubator.
- They need a constant supply of fresh water, and need to be kept dry at all times.
If the pet doesn't work out, some are taken to shelters and adopted out.
The Humane Society of the United States, as noted on Inhabitots.com, says “Every year, animal shelters receive a surge of unwanted Easter pets who are given up after the owners have lost interest or are unable to care for them. Unfortunately, many are euthanized due to lack of available homes.”
Many are let loose outside where they will be prey for birds and cats and desert critters, like bobcats and coyotes. Or they could starve.
“Some animals given as gifts are released into the wild when people tire of them. However, these animals are domestic species. They’re unable to fend for themselves and usually die of starvation or exposure to the elements, or are preyed upon by other animals,” says the Humane Society.
Ducklings don't adapt well to nature, either. Live Ducks notes on Inhabitots.com that, “A duck dumped into a public pond or lake will likely not survive until its first birthday.”
In an age where hand sanitizer is prevalent, it's important to note that baby birds can pose a health danger to small children.
“Young birds often carry harmful bacteria called Salmonella. Each spring some children become infected with Salmonella after receiving a baby chick or duckling for Easter. Harmful bacteria carried in the chick’s and duckling’s intestine contaminates their environment and the entire surface of the animal. Children can be exposed to the bacteria by simply holding, cuddling, or kissing the birds,” the CDC notes.
Rabbits can be costly: Regular vet care, food, housing and the plus spend time brushing, clipping nails, potty-training and bunny-proofing your home adds up quickly, notes Inhabitots.com
Likewise, Easter birds are also long-term, expensive pets.
- Chickens can live for 8 to 10 years and require costly housing, food and sometimes vet care.
- Ducks do not make good house pets. They need food, care, access to a water source such as a pond. Ducks can get depressed when left alone, says Inhabitots.com
And the practice of giving critters as Easter gifts encouraged questionable breeding and marketing practices — like dyeing chicks bright colors to make them appealing to young children.