Small furry animals, including bunnies, chicks, ducklings,
puppies and kittens are often given as Easter gifts. Before
giving a pet to a loved one or friend this Easter, please make
sure the person wants to be the recipient of a bundle of adorable
fur that comes with a bundle of expenses and a bundle of
responsibilities as well.
There are many reasons to have a pet. Pets can be entertaining;
they can be played with and can give lots of love
unconditionally. Pets can give new meaning to the life of a
lonely or elderly person, and can also help teach children about
being responsible. However, pets are also time-consuming, may
require training and sometimes need medical care that is often
expensive. Pets also need regular visits to the veterinarian,
periodic bathing, brushing and grooming, and lots of love and
attention, just as much as they need their daily food and water.
This may all sound a bit overwhelming, and for the recipient of
one of these furry little darlings, it can be! The responsibility
of owning another living creature is immense. Anyone who is
considering acquiring a pet for themselves, their children, or
for others, needs to seriously consider all the obligations,
responsibilities and expenses that are part of that special gift.
Important Facts About Rabbits:
- Did you know, that the cute baby bunny you’re thinking of
buying for your child on Easter may still be around long after
your child has grown into a teenager? Rabbits can live as long as
small dogs, from seven to ten years. Should the novelty wear off,
you’ll have an adult rabbit in the house who needs your care and
attention every day.
- Young children and bunnies are not a good match. Pet rabbits
aren’t low-maintenance pets, and they have specific dietary and
veterinary needs, and must be handled with great care.
- Pet rabbits must be live indoors, with their human families.
Thousands of ex-Easter bunnies are abandoned to shelters or into
the wild each year when their novelty wears off. This is
unfortunate and when released into the wild can be instant death
for a domesticated rabbit.
If your family is set on getting a rabbit, start by giving a book
on rabbit care. If the child is still begging you for a bunny
after the holiday has passed, go to your local shelter or rescue
group and find out how to adopt one of their rabbit, or even
better, a bonded pair. For information on bunny care and rescue
groups, visit the House Rabbit
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What About Those Cuddly Chicks?
According to the American Humane Association, while some of these
animals come into homes where they are well cared for, the
majority of baby chicks that are given as Easter gifts suffer and
die from lack of proper care and stress within a few weeks of the
- Most purchasers give little consideration to the special
feeding, care and handling needs their new pet requires and after
the novelty wears off, do not have the time, facilities or
adequate information to continue to care for these animals
- Young children unknowingly and unintentionally squeeze and
cuddle baby animals too much and too hard, often resulting in
broken bones, internal injuries and death for these delicate
- Many are killed and injured by other household dogs and
- As these delicate animals grow and children get bored with
them, these animals are neglected in backyard pens or dumped
outside to return to the wild, where they die from predators,
starvation or exposure. Many of them flood into shelters where
they must be killed because nobody wants them and there is not
sufficient space to keep them.
- If you are considering a chick as an Easter pet, learn all
you can first. Chickens are not low-cost or low-maintenance, as
many stores and pet shops will tell you. They are as big a
responsibility as a larger pet and require as much care and
interaction as a dog or cat.
- Chickens need a brooder, a place where they can run around
but also be protected from the family dog or cat. You can use a
large cardboard box, which can be covered to keep predators out.
If you are concerned about other pets you can place the brooder
inside a wire cage. In just a few short weeks, however, those
cute little chicks won't be so little anymore, and they will need
bigger accommodations, preferably a chicken coop, and room to run
- Don't forget that these cute, fuzzy animals will grow up to
be significantly larger adults. Chickens can also live up to 16
years. You must be able to commit to care for at least that
- Children may be at risk for acquiring Salmonella infection
from these pets after they receive them as gifts. Frequent
hand-washing and good hygiene are imperative for both the health
of your family and the chicken.
If you want to teach your children about the responsibility of
caring for animals, take them to the local humane society. There
they can learn about the care necessary for animals and they can
make a donation toward that care.