Baby chicks, ducks and rabbits sure are cute, but they come with responsibility, too.
This weekend, consider the long-term commitment they require before buying them for Easter baskets. More than 500 rabbits and 300 chickens are turned over to animal shelters in North Carolina. Dumping domesticated poultry or rabbits in wooded or rural areas makes them targets for predators as the animals are unable to fend for themselves.
To read more about the long-term care of these pets, check out this article from the Rocky Mount Telegram.
Remember bunnies and chicks quickly turn into full-sized rabbits and chickens and require daily care, often for years.
Also consider that contact with poultry can lead to a Salmonella infection. Poultry can carry Salmonella germs and still appear healthy and clean. These germs can contaminate a bird’s body and anything in the area where they are displayed or housed.
The CDC encourages owners of live poultry to not play chicken with their health. Since 2000, 76 Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to live poultry – 4,794 illnesses, 894 hospitalizations and 7 deaths.
If you are buying animals for Easter. Follow a few helpful tips:
- Wash your hands with soap water after handling animals.
- Clean equipment or any other materials associated with caring for the birds outside of the house.
- Don’t let young children (under five) or elderly persons with weakened immune systems play or handle poultry.
- Don’t let your poultry in the house.
- Finally, don’t snuggle or kiss these birds. (Yes, we know they are cute).