Peter Cottontail isn’t the only one hopping down the bunny trail this April. Tons of baby animals are opening their eyes to the world for the very first time, and it’s oh-so-hard to resist the cuteness. From bunnies to chicks and even ducks, these animals are the perfect symbols of spring.
Sometimes, these animals make great pets, too. But is a holiday the right time to gift a pet? We think all potential pet owners should consider some important, realistic facts, especially if they’re considering owning or gifting a baby animal for Easter. This is a big decision, after all! Here’s what to know first.
As precious as baby chicks and ducklings can be, they’ll grow up into chickens and ducks one day. You’ll only get a few months of babyhood to enjoy, though even those early months will be filled with chores and messes of all kinds. Remember, caring for a baby animal is still caring for an animal!
You’ll also want to consider how your potential pet’s needs will change as they grow. If you have pet rabbits, for example, you’ll need to neuter or spay them between 4 and 6 months of age (via Calder Vets). You also need to set up a rabbit hutch either indoors or outdoors, and you’ll need to keep up with all necessary vet visits.
No matter what species of animal you’re thinking of getting or gifting at Easter, or any time of year, consider what they’ll be like as an adult as well as a baby. So many pets end up in shelters — or worse — because their owners couldn’t handle their adult needs. Other times, animals are abandoned simply because the novelty wears off.
For animal lovers who aren’t ready for the commitment, consider visiting a wildlife sanctuary or symbolically adopting an animal through a charity.
Pet ownership is expensive no matter what species you own. You’ll be purchasing things like food and cleaning supplies on the regular, and vet visits can break the bank, too. A potential pet owner might not be ready for the financial or spacial commitment, especially if they don’t know the surprise is coming.
Pets like ducks and baby chicks need plenty of space to roam and play, too. Depending on their age, you might need to keep your new bird indoors until they are large and strong enough to fend for themselves. Special equipment like heat lamps might even be necessary for the early days, but in a few weeks, you can think about setting up an outdoor space.
Easter marks the unofficial beginning of springtime and the warm months. School is getting intense as finals loom near, and even adults are stressed with Tax Day. True, summer vacation might give some folks extra time to spare, but will you have enough time to make a pet feel safe, healthy, and loved?
You might need to dedicate more time to your new pet when you first bring them home, but you’ll always have to set aside time for your animal friend. Even routine things like vet visits and meals take time, so you’ll need to be ready for a long-term commitment.
If this sounds like a lot to take in — it is! Pet ownership is nothing to take lightly, even when Easter festivities make it look like a walk in the park. It can be incredibly rewarding to care for a pet, too, but thinking through this big decision is always the way to go.
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