The grass is green, the flowers are budding and there’s something in the air that might lead you to consider buying a cute fluffy bunny, chick or duckling for Easter. Although such adorable creatures make wonderful photo opportunities for your children or grandchildren on Easter Sunday, the story doesn’t end there.
Baby chicks grow into chickens with a life expectancy of 15 years or so. Hens will lay eggs for about 5 years, and roosters crow all their lives. How does a 3 a.m. wake-up call sound to you? Think flocks, because baby chicks are not loners. You would need a few to get started, and is that something you’re truly prepared for? Do your neighborhood ordinances allow farm animals?
Ducklings when grown require a bit of space, specifically 10 feet per adult duck. Like baby chicks, ducklings are happiest in a group. They’ll need a shelter from the elements and a body of water. For the first four or five weeks, they need to be kept inside to keep them warm and to protect them from natural predators. In warmer weather, that initial time could be reduced to two or three weeks. In captivity, a duck’s life expectancy is 15 to 20 years. That’s a string of Easter Sundays!
Rabbits multiply quickly to make up for the fact that they’re “dangling at the bottom of the food chain” like the hyenas in Disney’s Lion King. They’re capable of being litter box trained, but the process may take extra time and patience. Many rabbits are skittish and don’t care to be cuddled and held – despite their appealing furry looks! Unfortunately, a threatened, cornered rabbit may bite.
Rabbits are happier with another rabbit companion, but getting the chemistry right is tricky. For example, males will fight, and two females are not a sure bet either. A neutered male and female are probably best together, and any bonding takes time. Although life spans vary by breed, an average life span is about 10 to 15 years. Like cats or dogs, each rabbit has an individual personality and could be a great addition to your household. (Read our earlier post about caring for rabbits and other small mammals.)
With any pet, it’s prudent to do a bit of research before you make a decision. Visit your local library, local Audubon Society Office or talk to us at Town N Country Animal Hospital. We would love to hear from you and help you find the best pet for you and your family.