This is the time parents succumb to the marketing allure of buying their little children baby chicks, ducks and/or rabbits, some even dyed pink, blue, green or rainbow mixes.
Don’t do it.
Baby animals are not toys. They are vulnerable to death when chilled, over-handled, dropped or squeezed. They require special foods. They require consistent heat. They require safe quarters and security from dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, owls, eagles, and, in some parts of the island, weasels and mink. Also chickens and ducks like company, i.e. rarely does one do well on its own.
Children, of course, respond to baby and many adult animals. There are alternatives to satisfy them. Use the desire for a baby as an educational opportunity. Plan a trip to the zoo. Go to a local farm and see the animals in a secure environment. Take the family to an animal shelter and see all the grown and baby animals that have been abandoned. One might even donate or volunteer. Try “adopting” a wild animal through a non-profit organization such as Audubon. Buy a plush toy. If the child is old enough, consider involvement in a program such as 4-H.
All too often spring and impulsive animal purchases turn into disasters, such as having to explain why the baby died or to argue about chores to care for the animal. Celebrate spring by teaching your children about all the ways in which animals enrich our lives. You, your children, and the animals will all benefit.
Happy spring to all.
Blue Crow Farm, Clinton