What buyers should be wary of when gifting chicks or ducklings to Easter? ‘They’re Not Pets’

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The Easter egg is as much a symbol for newborn chicks as it is for colored eggs. Are they appropriate for holiday gifts?

John Di Leonardo, anthrozoologist and activist for animal rights, is the director Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, says the answer is a definitive no. “These little guys, they’re cute but they’re not pets,”He spoke to Inside Edition. 

Di Leonardo stated that anyone who is considering gifting such animals for Easter should reconsider. She said that bunnies, chicks, and ducklings are living creatures and not photo props. 

In years past, the Easter holiday comes and goes, and many birds given as presents end up getting released into the wild after they’ve grown out of the hatchling phase, Di Leonardo said. He noted that the animals are often abandoned due to the care they require to raise them. They are not ready to survive on their own. 

Experts say New York’s problem of baby bird abandonment is so severe that there is a law in New York prohibiting the sale of less than six baby ducklings or baby chicks per household if they are below 2 months old. 

“This law intends to limit impulse buys like around Easter when one wants to buy them and put them in a basket,” Di Leonardo said. 

Are stores required to follow the law when Easter is near? Inside Edition examined.  

There were many baby birds in an animal feed shop on Long Island. According to an employee, the birds were three to four days old. 

An Inside Edition producer filmed as two baby chicks and two ducklings were boxed up for Di Leonardo’s wife and sold to her for less than $50. Di Leonardo claims that selling the birds in such small quantities, especially when they are young, is against New York State law.

Di Leonardo and his wife brought the birds purchased back to their bird sanctuary, where they said they will get all of the love and care they need. 

“I think a lot of people, they think that they’re buying them and releasing them, they’re doing a good thing, but what they don’t realize is these animals can’t fly, they can’t migrate, they can’t survive in the wild,” Di Leonardo said. 

The law is a misdemeanor that can be punished with a $1,000 fine or a year in prison.