Easter is hands down, one of my favorite holidays. I love this time of year. Everything is fresh and new and has a feeling of new life. With new life, comes new excitement in the coop! I am taking this year off on adding to my flock. However, I was just in our local Runnings and was admiring the cute baby chicks. I may or may not spend a lot of time there just looking at all the wonderful breeds coming in from Hoover’s Hatchery! Haha! It is so tempting to walk out with a box full of baby chicks.
But I’ve decided that I can take care of what we have now very well. If I added more chicks, I’d have more than I can handle! Watching families come in and admire the chicks is also fun for me! My excitement matches theirs as they walk out with some new little flock members. However, I have also been in there when someone comes in to purchase a “gift” for someone they love.
Welcome to a very controversial topic this time of year in the backyard chicken world! Gifting baby chicks or ducklings for Easter is a long standing practice for some. I have a few thoughts on this and would love to hear yours as well!
I get it. You walk into the store and hear all the wonderful peeps coming from the back of the store. They’re calling to you and you work your way back to find the tanks brimming with baby chicks. Then, before you know it, you’re walking out with a baby chick or two to give to your kids or grandkids. They’re so cute and fluffy and you can’t wait to see the looks on your loved ones faces. Maybe you could even stick them in a little Easter basket? They’re so tiny and can’t require that much care, can they?
Unfortunately, this is a scenario that happens way more than it should. Thankfully, our local farm supply store is excellent at asking people if they have everything they need to bring their chicks home to. They also have minimums that people need to buy and they can’t just buy one or two chicks. They are working to avoid the situation that many don’t think much about. In a few short weeks, these cute little chicks grow into chickens. And chickens can live for many years! They require more space and become a lot messier! Unfortunately, some feel like it’s okay to just get rid of the chicks when the fun is over. They didn’t think through the entire process of backyard chickens because they were either uninformed, or simply didn’t care. Hopefully, they find good homes for the chickens, but many of them don’t and just dispose of them. So sad!
With this said, I’m not completely against gifting baby chicks as long as a couple rules are followed when doing so! I, for one, would love to receive baby chicks as a gift. Haha! I have everything I need to set up a brooder for them and could do it in a flash. If you’re going to gift baby chicks, please follow the following guidelines.
Guidelines for Gifting Baby Chicks
Ask permission BEFORE you buy them! There are some people who don’t have a clue on raising chicks….and they maybe don’t want to take that on. Showing up with live animals as a surprise can be very overwhelming to the people you’re giving them to.
Make sure they have everything they need to set up a brooder.
Understand that you have a minimal amount of time to get the chicks from the store to the brooder. Baby chicks need to be very warm the first few weeks of life. If they get too cold, they will die.
Make sure you purchase a Baby Chick Care Kit while you’re at it! This kit has everything your baby chick needs in the first few weeks of life to thrive.
Check in with the new chick owners to see how they’re doing with raising the little fluff balls.
If you do it correctly, gifting baby chicks can be a blessing! If you do it on a whim, it probably won’t end well. Making sure the baby chicks and their new owners have everything they need to succeed should be a major part of your decision. Baby chicks need a lot of care in the first weeks of their life. If you’re thinking about raising backyard chickens yourself, but have questions, please feel free to reach out to me!
–The Wing Lady