Think twice about bunnies, chicks

Bunnies in all their floppy-eared adorableness, and sweet, peeping chicks, have an irresistible allure this time of year.

But feed store owners and Humane Society officials warn these pets require just as much investment as a cat or dog.

When buying a bunny or baby chick, Jack Munro owner of Farmland Pets & Feed store in Silverdale, insists potential pet owners have the bare minimum in supplies. There’s a chick checklist he goes through with new chick owners.

“I won’t sell just one duck or baby chick, they need a pal,” he said. They also need a heat lamp, proper feed, and when they grow up, a hen house to roost in. The initial investment can be about $50. Munro sells pullets (female chickens that have not laid eggs) and as hatched chicks in several breeds.

Buying as hatched people run the risk of getting a rooster, which, depending on the neighborhood, could be problematic, Munro said.

Chickens can live up to 10 years and are only allowed in certain zoned areas of the county. Although Munro counsels would-be livestock owners, he also realizes people are free to decide if the pet is right for them.

“We’re not in the business of checking people’s addresses,” he said.

A bunny and its initial supplies could cost about $100.

While chicks need other chicks to be happy, bunnies are solitary beasts.

“Rabbits are not communal animals. They get together only for conjugal bliss and then go their separate ways,” Munro said.

Rabbits have been known to live for 15 years and shouldn’t be an Easter novelty.

“It’s not a good idea to get a rabbit for Easter then set it loose for the neighbor’s dog to chew up,” Munro said.

Kitsap Humane Society officials echo Munro’s warnings that a bunny or chick is a serious commitment. Bunnies, hens and roosters start showing up at the shelter 30-120 days after Easter said Dana Lerma, development manager for KHS.

“Use caution and a great deal of thought as to what kind of animal is best for them” when considering the Easter cuties for a gift, Lerma said.

KHS has a research library and adoption specialists to counsel folks who want to purchase livestock for pets. The Humane Society also has a barn and livestock for people to adopt. Although not recommended for apartments or urban living, barnyard animals can make good pets if the conditions are right.

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