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22 March 2013
Litchfield County Times Covers UPC
Concerns About “Easter” Chicks

The County Times

Covering Litchfield County, Connecticut

Front-Page Article, Newspaper Editorial, UPC President Karen Davis’s Letter to the Editor

Baby Chicks for Sale at Connecticut Agways, Elsewhere, Not Easter 'Toys'

Mar 21st, at 8:35pm

Spring is here, and with it comes new births in the animal kingdom, including beguiling fluffy-feathered chicks and ducklings, which can be found... Read More

Opinion > Editorial

A sign at the Agway on Housatonic Avenue in New Milford. Photo by Jack Coraggio/The Litchfield County Times.

Baby Chicks Sold at Agways, Elsewhere, Are Not Easter 'Toys'

Published: Friday, March 22, 2013

Baby chickens and ducklings can be purchased inexpensively this time of year and are tempting treats for youngsters on Easter morning. Cute and fluffy, they can be an exciting addition to a family holiday and a fun and educational experience for young people. Chickens, in particular, can also bring health benefits as well because of their taste for ticks that lurk in the grass.

So there are many reasons to consider the company of backyard fowl, but would-be purchasers should keep in mind that these are living creatures, not toys. According to the Web site, My Pet Chicken, an infant chicken needs not only an incubator that keeps the temperature at about 95 degrees (they will die at room temperature in an Easter basket) but they also require avian companionship.

Most children quickly tire of the little chickens when, inevitably, they stop being little balls of fluff and turn into leggy adolescents. Because a child’s interest has waned does not mean that the birds are disposable, to be discarded like paper plates, however. Taking care proper care of pets is a responsibility that children should be taught and in this respect the birds are no different than a puppy or kitten.

Far better to avoid the lure of Easter chickens or ducklings and to save any foray into the realm of raising backyard fowl for a more reasoned effort, one that includes a full appreciation of what the project entails, with all its benefits and responsibilities.


UPC President Karen Davis’s Letter: Concerns About Baby Chicks for Sale at Agway in New Milford

Published: Friday, March 22, 2013

To the Editor:

Local residents contacted us about the sale of baby chicks at the Agway in New Milford where they shop. They said they had not seen chicks on sale there before, and they are rightly concerned about these motherless birds being merchandised for the Easter trade.

While customers may see cute chicks, what they may not recognize is the suffering these birds are experiencing in being under bright lights, with no place to hide and rest the way chicks would normally do, periodically throughout the day, by running under their mother hen’s wings and being comforted by her care. Any sense of a parent bird carefully tending her young is lost when chicks are hatched in a mechanical incubator and displayed as if they were things instead of lives. The surviving chicks are usually doomed to a life expectancy of a few days or weeks spent miserably.

Young birds need nurturing and rest. They are difficult to feed in a store and can suffer from starvation and dehydration that is not even noticed by the employees.

We agree with the concerned residents that baby chicks do not belong in a retail outlet and that it is inappropriate to sell any animals as “Easter toys.”

Thank you for your attention.

Karen Davis, president
United Poultry Concerns
Machipongo, Va.

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