In the spring, Le Nichoir often receives calls from parents and teachers looking for a new home for ducks or chickens purchased for Easter to offer children the unique experience of raising a bird. However there are many things to consider before deciding to continue this tradition:
Cute and cuddly at first, these baby birds will become large and extremely messy in a matter of weeks.
Although an indoor pet chicken is not unheard of, it is not recommended. Ducks are even worse: definitely not suitable for a house, they need a farm access to water and the outdoors to forage.
In many municipalities it is illegal to keep farm animals, especially roosters. It is very hard to determine the sex of a chick.
Farm ducks and chickens cannot be released as they are not adapted to life in the wild. They are flightless and so cannot escape from predators, find adequate food or take shelter from the cold.
Young birds need to be with others of their kind. They are not toys, and being carried around and played with by children is stressful and unnatural for them.
Growing birds have very specific dietary needs. Not being fed properly they will rapidly develop malformations and permanent health issues.
This practice can reduce the value of a life in the eyes of children and make them see animals as expendable. Even raising these birds for a few days then returning them to the seller is inhumane.
Unless you can provide them with the care and environment they need and the prospect of a suitable permanent home, Le Nichoir is asking the public to avoid buying live Easter gifts and to spread this message in your community.