Please Don’t Buy Baby Ducks, Chicks, Or Bunnies As Easter Gifts! While Illegal In NYC, Other Areas See Many Babies Left Outside After Holiday

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Baby ducklings and chickens seem like such cute gifts, and they make for a great selfie! But they require more care than most people realize – and they grow up so fast!

It is once again the time of year when families begin to think about giving one another gifts for Easter. Most city dwellers choose to give solid or hollow chocolate bunnies, candy, stuffed animals, and other small items as gifts to their children. However, another less common tradition that some Islanders may not have heard of is to give Easter chicks, ducklings, and bunnies.

These are baby chickens, ducks, and rabbits, that are real live animals that will grow into full size animals if they survive. Some people find these small animals for sale at Easter time, and decide to give them as gifts. However, these animals are considered livestock, and require a lot of care. Most people who buy them do not understand this, and often they no longer want the animals once they start to get bigger. John is familiar with this issue, and can speak on some of the concerns related to buying of Easter chicks, ducklings, and bunnies in New York.

Here are some of the questions that we discussed in the interview, which can be viewed above:

  • What is Humane Long Island?
  • What is Humane Long Island’s Duck Defenders project?
  • What is “duck dumping” and why is it such a big problem in the Spring?
  • Where do “pet” ducks and chickens come from?
  • Where do people find these ducks and chickens? Are they found for sale anywhere in New
    York or Staten Island?
  • Do ducks and chickens make good “pets”?
  • Are there any laws to protect chicks and ducklings?
  • Is it legal to have ducks and chickens on Staten Island?
  • How do you differentiate a domestic duck from a wild duck and what should you do if you find
    a domestic duck abandoned at your local park?
  • An avian flu outbreak has skyrocketed the price of eggs. What do you s
  • ay to people who are
    thinking about getting backyard birds for their eggs?
  • What do people normally do with the chicks they receive?
  • Is your organization inundated with live chicks that you must then care for or find homes for
    shortly after Easter?
  • What do you do with these chicks if you do receive them?
  • How can people get involved and let their community know what the situation is with these
    chicks and why they should not participate in it?

We also discussed the proper way to care for and feed wild animals, if you are inclined to do so. There are many reasons people may want to, for example, feed ducks on the pond. It is a unique bonding experience with your child. It teaches them care for the environment and other living beings, and shows them firsthand their connection with nature, and the importance of nature to our own individual lives. Some of this is accomplished through feeding wildlife.  For more info about this, check out the book Last Child In The Woods by Richard Louv.


However, one of the most crucial things to remember is that you must provide ducks, specifically, with high-quality, necessary nourishment, or you are causing long-term harm. In the case of backyard birds, most people purchase seed mixes, which is a better than giving them leftover bread, as some people do.  Bread of any type is not good for wildlife of any kind, as it causes them to become fuller faster, and with very little nutrition.

There is a product he mentioned, called Mazuri Waterfowl (Breeder, for parent ducks; Starter Duckling for baby ducklings and geese; Maintenance, for adult ducks and geese) that can be found on Chewy.com, which can be fed to geese and ducks on the pond, and it will not cause them harm.  There are also other brands of wildfowl and duck food on chewy, in the category for duck food. 

By harm, the term malnourishment and diseases of the same are meant. So, a duck being fed regular white bread and little else can develop signs of starvation, even though they are eating. This is because their nutritional needs are much broader than what bread will give to them. But if you give them a high-quality food such as previously described, you can help them to survive in the winter when there is not much food for them.

Deforestation and environmental destruction, such as occurred recently with the Graniteville Wetlands project as previously reported, has definite harmful effects on wildlife, not the least of which making it more challenging to find food. In some areas, there are not enough flowering plants, berry bushes, worms, insects, etc, to support the wildlife that is in the area, particularly in the winter. In addition to the shortage that occurs naturally, the local parks department in NYC has been removing the “invasive” weed plants called Autumn Olive, along with others.  Autumn olive is an important food source for many local wildlife residents, and it is not being replaced by something else that will fill that void in the ecosystem.  Wildlife such as the grouse, mallard, and pheasant eat the autumn olive regularly, so this can cause them to have trouble finding alternative sources of food.

Local residents can help remedy these environmental problems by feeding some of the local animals in the wintertime. It will be appreciated, and will help them to thrive. As far as birds and rodents specifically, scientific research has shown that they will continue to forage, even if they have a guaranteed source of food in the form of a human who feeds them every day. Thus, it is unlikely to create an actual dependence on the human food, but at the same time, it will enable these birds and animals to actually thrive (and in some cases, survive) through the winter and into the spring.


As always, these are always individual moral and ethical choices, but the information provided herein can help to make the attempted help of nature actually effective, and not counterproductive.

Banner Image: Baby ducks and chickens video banner. Image Credit – Staten Islander News


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This byline indicates that this article was penned by a member/members of the Staten Islander News Organization office team. Our staff writers are the backbone of our newspaper, performing all sorts of important tasks like conducting interviews, investigating leads, besides writing the news stories you see.

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