Aww. So your little daughter fell in love with the baby chicks at the store. And you can't help thinking how incredibly sweet it would be for her to find one of those baby chicks in her Easter basket this weekend. How much trouble could a little chick be, right?

 

Stop right there. Walk away from those baby chicks and go directly to the candy aisle. Trust me, it will be easier on all of you.

 

Why shouldn't you give a chick to your little hen at Easter? For starters, baby chicks become chickens — and rapidly. Within a few weeks, you will be chasing a chicken around your house, not a cute cuddly baby chick. Is that really what you had in mind?

 

Chickens need a decent-sized yard to exercise and roam around in. So if you live in an apartment or condo, this is just not the pet for you. You can't expect to take your chicken out for a walk at your local dog park.  

 

Also, like any animal, caring for a chicken is a costly, labor-intensive process that requires some special skills on your part. Chickens need to be fed, kept warm, exercised, and allowed to develop and grow over the course of their lifetime — which could be as long as 15 years.

 

That said, if you have been thinking about raising backyard chickens, you'll be in good company. Backyard chicken-raising has become a bit of a cult phenomenon lately in both rural and urban communities. And if you're willing to put in the time, money and effort, it can be a rewarding experience.

 

Still thinking about putting a chick in your little one's Easter basket? Be sure to read Sheri Dixon's "Easter Chicks Gone Bad," on homestead.org. Now doesn't a nice chocolate bunny sound better for that basket?

 

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