The adorable, fluffy chick soon hits its gangly adolescent stage, and quickly thereafter advances to full-grown hen or rooster. Then what?
They are so cute! And children’s squeals and pleas are difficult to discount. Annually, thousands of baby chicks and ducks are purchased as Easter gifts. Yet, the adorable, fluffy chick soon hits its gangly adolescent stage, and quickly thereafter advances to full-grown hen or rooster. Then what?
If it is too late – if the deed has already been done – there are do’s and don’ts to consider.
– Do keep the babies watered, fed, warm and protected, instructs tractorsupply.com. Chicks will quickly outgrow a cardboard box and need clean, fresh shavings for bedding.
– Don’t release into the wild. Animal shelters may not take chickens or ducks, only unwanted Easter rabbits, so some individuals believe that to release them is most humane. However, inhabitat.com says these are domestic species and do not have the innate instincts to fend for themselves. They will quickly become prey to house cats, predatory birds or nocturnal creatures such as raccoons, foxes and opossum.
– Do find out zoning laws. Countryside magazine in April pointed out that since chicks and ducks are considered livestock, there may be neighborhood or city rules regarding raising them in residential areas.
– Do plan to have a secure coop with a roost/hen house where “fully-feathered” (mature chicks) and grown chickens and ducks can move around as well as feel safe, instructed Countryside. Even if planning to allow free range in the backyard, a coop is needed as their protection against nighttime predators.
– Do wash hands immediately after handling, as live poultry, especially, may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean, cautions tractorsupply.com.
Chickens and ducks often live for several years – generally five to eight, according to Countryside. Consider the long-term commitment.
If impossible to care for, seek through social media farming sites, or by word of mouth, a rural dweller willing to add the critters — free of charge — to their own broods.