Officials advise against rabbits, chicks, ducklings as Easter gifts

Posted at 3:36 PM, Apr 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-05 17:36:42-04

Animal welfare officials are warning parents against giving their children baby chicks, ducklings and rabbits this Easter.

The Utah Dept. of Health warns of dangers of Salmonella in live birds, and small children are at a particularly high risk because they frequently put their fingers in their mouths and because their immune systems are still developing. Pregnant women, the elderly and others with immune system deficiencies are also at a higher risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection say that detecting Salmonella in birds is difficult because they may exhibit no symptoms of the illness, but can transmit it to humans. Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, fever and vomiting. For more information about the risks of Salmonella from live birds and how to prevent infection, visit

The Utah Humane Society discourages parents from buying seasonal pets such as rabbits and chicks. Many potential pet owners don’t realize the time and effort pet ownership requires and many are returned to animal shelters or released into the wild where they typically die of starvation, exposure or become pray for other animals.