Easter is right around the corner and shops are filling up with Easter eggs and decorations, however, no matter how cute they are, don’t bring a chick or duckling home for Easter! Here’s why;
They don’t stay small forever
Like puppies and kittens, chicks and ducklings don’t stay the size of your palm forever and will grow pretty quickly. In a couple of months, they will lose that cute yellow fluff and grow feathers, they will get bigger and stronger and most can be quite vocal! Lots of people don’t think ahead and see the tiny baby birds and bring them home without a second thought to the future. Unless you have the desire and facilitates to keep them for their whole life, don’t get them. Buying animals on impulse is never a good idea!
They need space
Both chickens and ducks need the company of their own kind and lots of space. Ducks need access to a body of water to allow them to swim and forage under the water and they need a safe area to rest in a sheltered house. Chickens need space too and will scratch up the garden as they look for bugs in the dirt. They will most likely dig up the plants in your garden too! Both species of bird need cleaning out daily as their waste is very smelly, they kick around in the dirt, they chuck food about as they feed and shed feathers, so do require a lot of work. You will also need to ensure that you have sufficiently fox proofed your accommodation to keep them safe. High quality, predator proof setups aren’t cheap and buying a less expensive setup could mean it isn’t strong enough, resulting in a fox break in, or you having to replace the whole set in in a year or so when it rots away.
What about the boys?
Ok, let’s say you go all out and get three duckling and three chicks. It’s all very cute at first with their little noises and yellow fuzz, but then you realise you actually have two male ducks and two roosters. You may think that removing the eggs to stop a population boom would be the answer, but it’s not that simple. Male ducks will constantly mate the female, causing her stress and injury, whilst Roosters can fight and they also have a very loud crow which will cause complaints from your neighbours! Now you have a problem with what to do with the males as most rescues are very limited on how many cockerels they can take as they cannot mix like hens, and not many people want to adopt the boys.
They are fragile
Ducklings and chicks are really delicate, and rough handling can cause them serious damage and overhandling them can cause them harm. As they are so small, little hands can accidentally drop them, which could mean big vet bills. Newly hatched chicks and ducklings need to be kept in a warm environment as they are so delicate, but keep in mind they do have a strong odour, however, putting them outside can kill them.
You may not be allowed to keep them
It’s a good idea to check with your local council first, as there are some who do not allow poultry to be kept in a garden. You will also need to check your housing deeds too as some state you cannot keep ‘livestock’ on your property, which is what they are classed as. If you want to erect large housing for the birds, you may need planning permission before building anything. If you rent your property, you will need to check with your landlord, even if they allow pets you need to know if they allow chickens as they are classed as livestock.
Most vets won’t be able to treat your chicken or duck if they become unwell, so you will need to find a vet who can, which could mean you need to travel further to get your bird seen. These specialist vets usually charge more than a dog or cat vet, so you need to consider other costs that may creep up. Did you know there are lots of health issues these birds can get such as mites, lice, worms, egg laying issues, impacted crop and coccidia to name but a few – Do you still want to bring that chick home?
What if you can’t keep them?
Most rescues are overflowing with animals, and not all of them are able to take poultry, especially if they are male. You may have to go on a waiting list for a rescue, which could mean a long wait until they are able to help. Setting them free isn’t an option either as it is a death sentence.
Ducklings and chicks are adorable, but they are living creatures who deserve a secure home for life. This Easter, stick to chocolate.
Bunnies aren’t good Easter presents either! Here’s why!