Gifting animals for Easter might be a bad idea according to veterinarian
SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to Easter baskets, it’s best to leave gifting animals out of them, according to Utah State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Many parents gift chicks, ducklings, and rabbits to children as Easter presents but often return or abandon the animals once their child loses interest.
In an online post, the USU veterinary school said it is very easy for children to injure these small animals. Especially by those who don’t understand how to safely hold them. Many other challenges occur when trying to care for a baby rabbit, chicken, or duck.
Proper preparation and housing seem to be the biggest issue when caring for these animals. When it comes to ducks, they need a big outdoor space.
“Rember, they do need a pond or other water source to be happy… And those ponds tend to get messy and muddy. They’re not ideal for people with pristine lawns and lovely flower beds,” said Dr. Jane Kelly, president of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association and USU professor.
Furthermore, ducks can be very noisy, live up to 10 years, become distressed without a companion, and have very fragile bodies.
According to Kelly, rabbits pose similar challenges. They tend to be very fragile and will bite and scratch due to the grips of young children.
“Rabbits should be handled with care and held properly to prevent accidental fracture of the spine,” said Kelly.
Ducks, chickens, and rabbits may also carry disease. Kelly claims that salmonella outbreaks have been associated with ducklings and chicks. She also said that wild rabbits can easily catch tularemia, a disease that can spread from dead rabbits, flies, and ticks.
That said, with a lot of preparation and education it is possible to home chicks, rabbits, and ducklings. That includes: proper nutrition, clean and disinfected living space, and fresh water daily. Quarantining new and sick animals can help control disease if it occurs.
“No matter how cute the bunnies, chicks and ducklings are do not kiss them or put them near your face,” Kelly said.
“A gift certificate to a zoo, aviary or aquarium makes a fantastic gift for children interested in birds and animals of all types,” Kelly said.
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