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Veterinarian advises: Easter is no time for surprise pet gifts

Aug 17

Categories: Blog

As the Easter holiday approaches, you may be tempted to buy a cuddly Easter bunny, duckling or chick for a loved one. And, although these baby animals are adorable, they do grow up into rabbits, ducks, and chickens with very specific needs. So consider the responsibilites involved before you give these animals as Easter presents.

Baby ducks and chicks require at least 2-3 hours of basic, daily care to become domesticated.   They need to be handled and petted when they are young to adjust to their new home.  When they become adults, their owners need to be aware of behavioral changes that may indicate sickness. Also, leaving your new pet unsupervised in the presence of the family dog or cat could result in injury or death to the animal.

Cleaning the animal's quarters is a crucial part of keeping them healthy.  A sanitary shelter, indoor or outdoor, must be provided to protect them from predators, other pets, and weather. The structure should be large enough to allow freedom and space enough to roam while providing protection. Most diseases can be traced to poor facilities and neglect.

Health care for a rabbit, duck, or chicken is very different from that of a dog or a cat. These pets aren't vaccinated for many diseases because it's not economical. Ducks and chickens are potential carriers of salmonella and other diseases that can be transmitted to children and adults through their fecal material. Health care relies on strong commitment, daily observation, and periodic visits to your veterinarian. And, not every veterinarian is equipped for and is familiar with the routine health care of these pets. The veterinarians at Animal Health Care of Marlboro are well versed in rabbit care as we treat all pets with fur (that fit in your house) but scales and feathers are best left to others!

So think before you give. What may seem like a good idea at the time, could turn into a liability in the future.  Make sure that the recipient wants this type of pet and is able to care for it both as a baby and as they mature into adult animals before purchasing an Easter bunny, duckling, or chick as a gift!