Chicks, ducklings and rabbits should not be Easter gifts

If you’re thinking it might be cute to get the kids some chicks, ducklings or even a bunny for their Easter basket, for the animals’ sake please reconsider.

Experts warn that, as with puppies and kittens at Christmas, the holidays are not a good reason to acquire a new pet.

Chicks, ducklings and bunnies will present their own unique problems. They grow quickly, and most households are ill-suited for providing proper care and accommodations.

They can be messy. They might not be all that cuddly once they mature; ducks, in particular, can be aggressive. In some municipalities, they’re illegal to keep or will require a permit.

Domestic fowl also can carry salmonella, experts advise.

And, in the North Woods, they’ll face a number of predators looking to pick off a plump rabbit, duck or chicken should the opportunity arise. So having them outdoors is a risk.

Mostly, though, the main hazard to these animals is the human who get them for Easter will tire of them and decide they’ve got to go.

Local shelters often end up with these unwanted critters, putting additional stress on their already thin resources. Local wildlife rehabilitator Phyllis Carlson says domestic ducks regularly are dumped off at local lakes, where they become easy prey or succumb to the elements — most domestic duck varieties are unable to fly more than a few feet, as they were developed for meat and thus are too heavy to migrate when winter sets in.

Like dogs and cats, rabbits require a 10- to 12-year ownership commitment, experts say. Chicks and ducklings often have health problems.

In truth, no animal should be acquired on impulse — and certainly not as an Easter decoration or live toy for the kids or grandkids.

So do yourself — and the chicks, ducklings and rabbits — a favor: stick to the chocolate and marshmallow varieties this holiday. It may not be waistline-friendly, but it is the humane thing to do.

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