Garanimals Blog

April 4th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Wait a Bit for that New Bunny

Spring is in the air (even in Chicago!) and signs of new life are everywhere. Some traditional symbols of the season are baby animals, particularly bunnies, chicks and ducklings. It can be tempting to bring one of these cuties into your home, and, as the wife of a pet store owner, I love when people buy new pets. But …

Bringing a new animal into your home on a whim is never a good idea. As my husband says, bunnies soon become rabbits, fuzzy chicks are soon chickens, and ducklings become full-grown ducks in just a few months—and the next thing you know, you have a house full of farm animals. You must be prepared to care for an animal for its entire lifetime, not just this season. So before you’re tempted, know the facts:

Rabbits

  • can live 8 to 10 years and reach maturity in 2 months
  • most adult rabbits weigh 4-5 pounds, but the largest breeds can grow to 15 pounds
  • have teeth that never stop growing and, if they don’t have the right things to chew on, will chew on your furniture or kids’ toys

Ducks

  • weigh between 10-18 pounds
  • can live up to 12 years
  • need a warm home, as well as water to swim and play in

Chickens

  • reach maturity in 4-5 months
  • generally live 8-10 years, but can live twice that long
  • are social and best raised in groups, so be sure you have room fore more than one

Ducks and chickens are often classified as farm animals even if you plan to keep them as pets, so you must check your local regulations to see if it is legal to raise them in your community.

While we all like to think that everyone who brings an animal into his or her home will be a responsible pet owner, the sad fact is that many animals are abused or abandoned. Rabbits are the third most commonly abandoned animal in the country, and there is a sharp uptick in the number of abandoned rabbits, ducks and chickens after the Easter holiday.

In fact, this has become such a problem that a local Chicago animal shelter, Red Door Animal Shelter, has asked pet stores to sign an Easter Amnesty pledge. To promote thoughtful pet ownership and to prevent holiday-related impulse pet purchases, some pet stores (including ours) are pledging not to sell these animals, particularly bunnies, in the period immediately before and after the Easter holiday.

Chicks and ducks and bunnies can make great pets, but be a thoughtful purchaser. Know what kind of commitment you are making when you bring one into your home and wait until after the holiday to make your decision. This is sound advice whenever you are thinking of a new pet.

Related Picture Books

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Duck & Goose: Here Comes the Easter Bunny by Tad Hills

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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2 Comments on 'Wait a Bit for that New Bunny'

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this and participating in this amnesty!! Rabbits can make wonderful pets for the right families who do their research and planning.

    Becky Bearman

    4 Apr 12 at 6:54 pm

  2. Thank you, Becky. You’ve been a great resource for the Garanimals blog. (FYI to our readers, Becky is lead keeper of Program Animals at Zoo Atlanta and knows more about animals than anyone I know.)

    Susan

    4 Apr 12 at 8:21 pm

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