Many kids send out requests at Easter for a bunny or chicks. Indeed these animals are cute, but they should not be Easter gifts.
Easter Chicks are often sold either naturally or colored. They are usually no more than a week old. This is fine when they are going to a knowledgeable home since chicks do not require their mother to feed them. However most people who buy these cute chicks are not knowledgeable and are not even capable of keeping the animals alive or as pets. If you had Easter chicks when you were a child, go ahead and ask your parents what happened to them. Chances are they died in a matter of days.
Chicks need to be fed chick starter and kept in a warm place, such as a brooder. In a home they can be kept under a lamp for raising chicks. If hung too low the chicks will over heat, they will tend to move away from the light. If raised too high the chicks will be chilled and try to huddle under the light for warmth. Of course they need fresh water to drink from.
Chicks are tiny and prone to stress… yet what is the first thing they often face? A delighted child who simply lacks the ability to hold them gently or respect the fact they are scared.
Chicks grow up into chickens. Many areas do not allow the keeping of chickens and often not roosters. Unless the chicks were properly sexed chances are some will be roosters. If sold as easter chicks, chances are all are roosters since roosters are of almost no value otherwise. The female chicks would have been sold through livestock stores to farmers and people willing to pay more specifically for females.
Above we see a proper set up for chicks.
An alternative to buying Easter chicks is to find an event that has chicks on display for Easter or visiting a petting zoo, or petting farm.
Bunnies are often sold by unscrupulous sellers as Easter pets with no regard to whether or not they will be cared for after Easter.
These pets are often acquired on a whim and soon done away with because little thought or planning went into making a decision on getting a pet, and making a lifetime commitment to that pet.
Every year about a month or so after Easter, animal shelters get a large number of rabbits surrendered into their care. In some areas city parks suddenly explode with abandoned pets. Such is the fate of many Easter bunnies.
Rabbits are not rodents they are lagomorphs. They need proper food and housing. They also need regular time out of their cage. In the wild it would be able to hop around and stretch its legs much more than most cages allow for.
Rabbits are often prone to neglect, left for days without being taken out of their cage. While they can live in hutches outdoors this is certainly a boring life for them when they are not properly cared for, and they will be at risk for Fly Strike if cleaning is neglected.
Rabbits need to be feed rabbit food and fresh vegetables, such as carrots. They can also be given alfalfa hay. A rabbit will enjoy eating dandelions as long as they were not sprayed with chemicals. Rabbits can be litter trained and many people allow them loose in their homes like a cat. They will, however, nibble electrical cords.
A good alternative to buying a rabbit is to visit the ones for adoption at a local animal shelter.
Pets and Easter
Pets are a real commitment, not a whim, or a spur of the moment idea as related to a holiday.
If you have not considered getting chickens as pets, or rabbits as pets, outside from the holiday season, you should not be getting them at all. These are living animals who depend on you to provide them with a good home. They are not toys for children and should never be viewed as such.
Holidays are one of the worst times to get new pets if a person is busy. The pet will not get cared for and will be stressed as a result of the activity. If you are wanting either chicks or rabbits for Easter, wait a month. If you still want chicks go to a livestock feed store, if you still want a bunny, go to a shelter, there will be plenty for adoption, and some will even come with free cages and supplies.
Unwanted Chickens and Rabbits
In most areas it is illegal (animal abandonment) to turn an unwanted pet loose. If you have found you got a pet and regretted it later, be sure to take the animal to the local animal shelter or SPCA. Returning it to the breeder is another option, but most will refuse to take it back knowing they cannot sell it at this time.
Related Links on Chickens and Rabbits