Chicken Help

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Q: I want to get a chick for Easter for my son's basket, and then find a farmer to adopt it when it has grown. How do I do that?

A:

No, no, no... you don't want to do that. It's is a bad idea for many reasons.

First, one chicken raised alone will often die of loneliness--they are flock animals and need companions.

Do baby chicks make good Easter gifts?

Second, baby chicks require a nice warm brooder--and by warm, we mean about 95 degrees! They will get ill and die at room temperature in an Easter basket.

And third, even were you to buy several chicks and give them proper care in a brooder, generally speaking, it's still just not an ethical thing to do. It's cruel to raise a baby animal, or several, only to discard them when they're no longer cute babies. They are not just playthings, and you don't want to teach your children that living creatures can be used and discarded like paper plates. They're not disposable! Instead, they are individual creatures, each with their own personalities, wants and needs... not something to be used as decorations for an Easter basket or as "experience" in a hatching project and then abandoned when they turn into chickens a few weeks later. Taking care proper care of pets is a responsibility you want your kids to understand.

Think about it: if you asked your local Humane Society if you could raise a puppy but then give it back a few months later when it wasn't as cute, I suspect they would probably tell you it is a bad idea, too--in no uncertain terms! Most people wouldn't consider doing that with puppies or kittens, and chickens are no different.

If you want to give your children a springtime baby chick experience or to be involved in chicken-keeping on a temporary basis, a better idea would be to volunteer on a farm with your family, to have your kids help a neighbor who keeps backyard birds, or to help your kids join your local 4H Club. If you absolutely must have a baby chick or hatching experience with your kids and you don't plan to take care of the babies you hatch or purchase, then be sure to include your kids in the experience of finding and identifying a good home for the chicks, too. Young kids will need to see the whole process of providing proper care to animals for which your family is responsible, all the trials and tribulations, and so they understand that baby animals of all kinds--chicks, kittens, puppies, frogs and fish--are not just toys.