A long-held tradition at Easter holds that children should be given baskets stuffed with live rabbits, ducks, geese and chickens. While this is a cute tradition and may thrill the children initially, it can be very problematic.
Often, people don’t consider that these animals will have to be cared for after Easter. Sometimes a well-meaning relative brings an Easter pet to a family not ready or equipped to deal with one. After the holiday, many families take these pets and “release them into the wild.” However, these animals were born and bred in captivity and are not able to survive in the wild. The lucky ones will reach a wildlife rehabilitation organization, but most will be quickly eaten by a predator. Domestic animals released into the wild may breed with the wildlife, causing domestic hybridization of wild waterfowl.
If you really want to get an Easter pet and are committed to caring for it long-term, it is important to educate yourself on the local laws regarding the keeping of poultry and the type of care your pet needs. Remember that it is illegal in most places to release animals in parks or forests. A nice alternative to a live pet is a stuffed animal in a basket. If it gets neglected after the holiday, no one is hurt.