Here is a re-posting before Easter. This is about the 3rd or 4th time that I have reposted. Yes, this is a boring topic and I do not have any pics to go along with this post. I should have gone to the feed store and taken a few photos. The last time I went to one of the four feed stores that I patronize, there were baby chicks, ducklings, and some rabbits. These, however, were not ordered from the hatchery just for an easter sale but for individuals to add to their flock or for first timers wanting to keep a few backyard chickens or other poultry. These new chicks will produce lovely eggs before the year has ended. Please continue reading. Easter is this Sunday, April 5th, I believe. Do you have little ones chirping- quacking- hopping or hoping for a wee baby chick, duckling, or bunny? If so, don’t leave this page without reading. I hope that after reading this entry, you can say NO to your child or children if they have been bugging you for a live Easter gift. Easter will be here in about 3 days. What do you give your child/children as an Easter gift? A live bunny, a baby chick or, a duckling? Think long and hard about your choice. Baby chicks and ducklings are very small and their little bodies can not hold up to being passed around between children or even just one child. Chicks and ducklings grow and become larger. How would you keep that chick or duckling safe from the family cat or dog? How would you care and house that chick or duckling? Even if the chick managed to grow to adult hood you will have a mess to deal with. Children can catch several diseases from that baby chick. Serious diseases. What will you do when that baby chick/duckling expels very malodorous excrement on your child or in your child’s hands while holding the chick/duckling. The small bird in all probability will die because it does require special care. A cage, chick/duck food, a watering bowl, and a small feeder designed just for baby chickens or ducklings. Cages must be cleaned daily. Clean black and white newspaper (not colored parts or adds of the newspaper) should be used. Are you prepared to deal with that? Or are you one of those people who figures “oh well. It’s just one of millions of chickens/ducks and the life of one baby chick/duck doesn’t matter that much.” What about that cute bunny that you saw in the pet store? As it turns out that bunny also needs special care. A cage, (made just for rabbits) water (preferably a water bottle) that the rabbit can sip from- keeps the water clean, a dish for rabbit pellets, hay for the bunny to eat, and small amounts of raw fruit and vegetables to keep its digestive tract healthy. But it does not end there. The cage should be cleaned daily to keep the bunny healthy. Rabbits should also be vaccinated for 2-3 diseases. The rabbit should be spayed or neutered before 6 months of age. A rabbit should be held a certain way because the delicate back is easily broken just from twisting and turning or letting it fall to the floor. They really do not like to be picked up and handled. If you just turn it loose in the back yard it can easily meet its demise in the jaws of a dog or cat or a hawk can swoop down and make a meal of the bunny and lets not forget that Great Horned Owl that will snatch it up at night or early in the morning. How will you keep it safe from over zealous children that want to carry it around or simply pet the bunny many times a day. Bunnies grow up and become large rabbits. Are you going to just turn it loose in your backyard or take it to the local shelter to give it up because it is just too messy and difficult to keep in the house. Bunnies are also capable of biting and then you will worry about a possible infection from the bite. Now if you still want a rabbit for your child there a a few more things to consider such as disease transmission to you or your children. A plethora of diseases also are on the list of why a rabbit is not a good choice for your child. Pasturella, coccidiosis, giardi, E-coli, toxoplasmosis, and the list goes on. If you keep the rabbit outdoors they are also susceptible to heat stroke and also need warmth in the winter. Remember: these are domestic rabbits which are much more delicate that a native wild rabbit. So let your conscience by your guide. Just don’t give a chick or bunny as an Easter gift unless you want a lot of work and the real possibility that the animal will die. If it doesn’t succumb to disease or neglet your children will grow tired of that chick or bunny and then you are faced with what to do with that Easter gift. Be smart and humane; omit anything live for your young child. There are many things to give your child. A stuffed rabbit or a toy chick or duck are great and you will not have all of the work and worry. Of course there is always the Easter candy but beware of the chocolate that the family dog can and will eat. Chocolate is deadly for dogs. If your dog ingests chocolate take your pet to the animal emergency where it can get the proper care to keep the chocolate from being absorbed. Special care is required for after care. PRECAUTIONS ARE THE KEY WORDS. The care and consideration that you show toward a “lesser” bird or animal will have an impact on your child’s emotional development. How your child will treat you later in life and how much empathy your child has for other human beings and animals is learned at a young age. This is something that can be taught but not at the expense of a small helpless animal. Your child can learn how to treat others and animals by following your example- good or bad. After Easter the animal shelters become filled with bunnies and chicks. Don’t be guilty of adding to the shelter’s already over flowing facilities. Be humane and don’t get give your child a live pet. Visit the zoo, watch an animal movie or, read a cute story to your child/children about an animal/s You’ll be glad you did.