animals

Easter Gifts: What It Really Means to Care for Chickens and Bunnies

With Easter just a few days away, it can be easy to get caught up in all the cute animal babies that exist during this time of the year. Little chicks are incredibly adorable and often times, bunnies are incredibly soft. While it can be tempting to bring home a chick or a bunny this time of the year, it’s important that you know exactly what goes into caring for rabbits and chickens before getting them as Easter presents.

Despite popular belief, domestic rabbits are far from a low maintenance pet. These animals can be wonderful companions, as they’re intelligent and energetic, but they are by no means an easy or cheap pet to care for. The site My House Rabbit has many resources on how to best care for domestic rabbits and estimates that the initial cost of a pet rabbit can easily be around $350. Plus, there are ongoing costs (which could easily be around $85 a month) plus other incidental costs like vet bills, supply and furniture replacement, and more that aren’t covered.

Like any other pet, you’ll need to make sure that rabbits have a place to sleep, the right kind of food, and you’ll have to bunny proof your home.  You’ll need to have a cage that spacious enough for the bunny and easy enough to clean; plus, bunnies will need time outside the cage for exercise and a chance to socialize. Additionally, domestic rabbits can live 10-12 years with proper care so when you get a baby bunny as an Easter present, you’re signing up for more than a decade of responsibility.

While baby chicks are cute and easy to hold the first few days, they will outgrow that stage fairly quickly and will become chickens. There’s so much care that goes into caring for chickens and because these animals are social creatures, they need to be around other chickens. These birds are wonderful companions and it does seem like more and more folks are getting backyard chickens in urban areas.

But like with any animal, there’s a whole lot of care and work that goes into having chickens and I personally don’t recommend them living in your house after the first couple weeks. They’ll need a coop, a run, the right kind of food, places to roost, and so much more. You’ll need to clean out their coop and run on a regular basis and if you decide to let them roam in your yard during the day, you’ll have to be aware of the different ways they might be able to get out and the different predators that could get them. And if a predator doesn’t get to the chicken during its life, you also have to think about what to do with them after they stop laying eggs (if that’s why you want chickens).

Easter can be a tough time for domestic rabbits and chickens, as there are folks who will get one of these animals for a friend or family member as an Easter present without thinking of the care that they’ll need. Domestic rabbits are one of the most popular kinds of pets in the United States but they’re also one of the most abandoned.

Last week, I wrote about how like rabbits can hurt these pets and the local wildlife/ecosystem and that’s something to think about when you get a rabbit or chick for Easter. People abandoning their pet rabbits is a big issue in many different places around the world throughout the year and doing so causes so many problems. And there are so many chickens that are also being given up to shelters and rescues after people lose interest.

During this Easter and spring season, I really encourage you to think twice before adopting a bunny or chick. Having animals in your life can be incredibly wonderful but it’s also a big financial commitment and long-term responsibility. If you want some animal love in your life but are unsure about being able to properly care for them, try volunteering at a local shelter! Or maybe go to a zoo, petting zoo, or aquarium. There are many places around the Pacific Northwest where you can get your animal fix without adopting an Easter bunny or chick.

If you’re looking to get some face to face experiences with animals here in the Pacific Northwest, there are many places you can go. Here are just of the places you can go visit in region:

Western Washington

Oregon

British Columbia

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