Easter Pet Precautions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Easter Pet Precautions

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Each spring, things get a lot more cuddly at Waterloo's Tractor Supply Company.

"Usually they sell out really quick. We sold out within five hours last week," said Danielle Frost, a TSC employee who is training as a veterinarian's assistant.

Frost sells hundreds of baby birds during the company's annual Chick Week.

"There's a lot of farmers that raise chickens that come in, they get up to like 30 chicks at a time," she said.

TSC requires a minimum purchase of six birds. But not every seller is that responsible, and many parents see the fluffy chicks or fuzzy bunnies as a perfect Easter present.

"They are a lot of fun, but they do grow up and start making a mess as they get older!" said Frost.

Bunnies, ducklings, and even colorful dyed chicks are popular presents, but the American Humane Association cautions you to think about the long-term consequences before buying these as pets. Unfortunately, the majority of small animals purchased at Easter die within a few weeks. Those that live longer are often abandoned, or released to animal control agencies.

"They are adorable, but they don't realize what they're going to do with them as they get older," said Venia Warns from the Cedar Bend Humane Society. "They get them when they look like this -- cute and adorable. And then usually, sometimes two months, and the rabbit's not so fun. It ends up living its life in a cage, the kid doesn't want to play with it anymore."

If you are serious about a pet rabbit, or want to raise your own flock of chickens, now can be a good time to get started.

"Lots of people come in, they have questions on what to buy for them, how to take care of them," said Frost.

If you're looking to create a fun Easter memory for your young kids, bring them into the humane society or TCS for a visit. But stick with a stuffed animal for their baskets.

Another thing to keep in mind this weekend if you or your children are handling small animals: Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, frequently. Chicks and ducklings can carry salmonella, and you may come in contact with germs like e-coli from petting bunnies or other small animals.

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