Dyed-chicks may not be suitable Easter pets

Easter is in a month, and a lot of kids will probably be begging their parents for those cute, colorful chicks, ducks or rabbits that become popular right around the holiday.  I know, this is an age-long debate, why is Easter any different from getting your kid an animal any other time? Here are some things you may want to take into consideration before making the decision to get a live animal for your kids for Easter.

First, let’s examine the dyed chicks.  Chicks are oftentimes dyed certain colors, either by injecting the egg or spraying them with a fine mist.  The biggest concern with this practice among activist groups is that it stresses the chicks.

The dye wears off when the chicks begin to grow their feathers out.  While it seems as though dyeing a chick is as simple as dyeing your own hair, how upset will your child be to find out that the pretty green and pink chicks won’t be pink or green anymore? 

Thus, unless you plan to use the chicks as egg producers and have adequate housing and living conditions to give them a good home once your child loses interest in them, it’s not necessarily a good idea to get those pretty chicks simply for a present.  (Chickens are not and I repeat, not good house pets.)  Like chicks, ducks live quite a long time if cared for properly, and unless you’re willing to keep them and clean up after them, they’re messier than you might think they’ll outgrow the cute fowl stage fairly soon.

The bunnies are the next thing.  When Easter comes back around, the pet supply stores start wheeling out the cute little fuzz-balls that are known as baby rabbits.  I fell victim to this once, a runty Holland Lop who lived out his whole life at my house, split between being an inside and an outside rabbit.  He had a stuffed toy he was quite attached to and enjoyed being read stories.

However, most kids, I’m taking this from children I personally know as well from others’ stories, lose interest fairly quickly.  This is especially true once they realize an animal takes a lot of work; rabbits, for small animals, take a lot of work.

Weekly cage cleanings, food and water at least once each day, taming them, housetraining if they’re an inside rabbit…this doesn’t go away just because an animal is cute, unfortunately.  If your children are very young, they will need to be taught a lot more than just how to clean a pen and give an animal some food. They’ll need to learn how to hold and treat an animal gently, too. 

Additionally, a lot of kids these days are into sports and other extracurricular activities, so any extra time that might already be available is sucked up by activities they find to be more enjoyable than scooping out a rabbit pen.  Some people even release their rabbit into the wild when they tire of it – absolutely do not do that.  They’ve been in captivity since birth and don’t know how to care for themselves.

Mainly, the idea of giving animals for Easter gifts may seem like a cute way to introduce your young kids to caring for an animal, but make sure your child is really, truly ready for the challenge and that doesn’t mean asking a child while they’re currently at the animal pens, gushing over how fluffy and cute the bunnies and chicks are.

If you’re certain that both you and your children are ready to take on the responsibility, go for it.  If you’re uncertain, get some candy for their baskets this year.

Those marshmallow peeps and bunnies probably last as long as a real animal, keep their colors and they don’t take nearly as much of a commitment.

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