Easter and Chicks and Ducklings, Oh My! Scooter says, “Stop the Madness!”
It’s a tender -nearly Rockwellian- vision to be sure; Florida’s young children gathered around a pastel-colored Easter basket filled with fuzzy, squirming ducklings or chicks chirping for their mothers. The children, dressed in Sunday best, all giggling and squealing at the young feathered babies labeled with ribbons, are eager to scoop them up for a cuddle. Easter truly is a time for family gatherings and celebrations of joy but this should not include the introduction of baby hatchlings fresh from a Florida parking lot or backyard farm.
While some see this tradition as a delightful and tender addition to the day’s joy, for the birds, it is quite another thing altogether. Below are just a few reasons why parents should opt for Marshmallow Peeps instead of real ones:
- Farm foul can carry zoonotic diseases which can pass easily between birds and humans. Carried in the intestines of both ducks and chickens, salmonella can prove harmful and even deadly to those with a weakened or immature immune system. These would include children and the elderly, but can also include those infected with chronic diseases who may have instances of poor immunity responses.
- Farm foul are not allowed within certain city or county limits. Chicks and ducks, no matter how adorable, are still considered farm animals. This distinction makes them disallowed and illegal in many city and county lines across the Clearwater/Pinellas County areas of Florida.
- Farm foul can actually do quite a bit of damage to residential properties. Chickens have coops and ducks have pens for a reason. Farm foul peck and scratch in order to feed. It’s their nature to do so. Because of this, residential lawns can sustain quite a bit of damage as these animals search for food. Farm foul defecate all... the… time. It’s what they do. No pun intended! This can stain driveways, walkways, flooring and furniture.
- Farm foul do not make good pets. Although we see movies and cute videos of humans interacting on what seems to be an equal level with ducks, geese and chickens, they do not, in fact, make ideal pets. Their natures preclude them from enjoying the same one-on-one pet/human relationship most of us will have with a domesticated dog or cat. While we’re sure there have been exceptions, is it really worth the risk of trying to deeply domesticate a duck so it can sleep in your bed and swim in your bathtub? Not exactly healthy for the bird!
- Most will die in domesticated care. While your bird will be easy to care for as it remains small and easily handled, once it grows, its health can become difficult to manage. Farm foul require a steady dose of room to roam. Ducks require large bodies of water to fully engage in their natural activities while chickens are happiest with a large area in which to roam for food. Most Easter purchases of farm foul die within the first few weeks due to temperature changes, disease or by other family pets.
Options for fun Easter gifts for Florida’s children who are interested in wild birds could include any one of the products offered from Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor. Bird boxes, feeders, seed and suet provide children with a consistent and safe glimpse into the lives of Florida’s wild birds right in their own back yard!
Look here to find out some of the fun and exciting ways you can enjoy some Easter Marshmallow peeps with your children!