Animal Rescuers Say Stick To Chocolate Bunnies For Easter Gifts

Mar 24, 2016


At Jacksonville's Celestial Farms, rabbits flock to bowls of dried pellets on Wednesday.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

With Easter on Sunday, animal rescuers warn against surprising the kids with a pet bunny or duckling because these animals often end up homeless.  

Celestial Farms on Jacksonville’s Northside is home to many of these forgotten critters, including roosters, goats, sheep and pigs.


They’re mostly rescues, said Veronica Crider, the farm’s owner. And, she added, rabbits are the most popular animal her farm takes in. She has about 20.

At Celestial Farms on Jacksonville's northside, a couple of ducks run freely. Owner Veronica Crider says people should research potential pets before purchase.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

“The kids are no longer taking care of them and they’re not fun and cool anymore,” she said. “They get bored of them and then they need to find them a new home.”

MORE | Watch a video of the bunnies below

Many of the animals are evaluated and placed in "forever" homes, while others remain in Crider's care.

On Wednesday, Crider was standing in the rabbit house — which is more like a rabbit palace, about the size of a human’s living room. She said rabbits don’t like sitting in a cage all day.

And she said pet rabbits have a lot of health issues when their cages aren't regularly cleaned.

Crider poured the rabbit feed and they all hopped out to the two bowls. A group of kids visiting were absolutely enamored with them, petting them and pointing out the small ones.

Pot-bellied pig Ella noses the camera at Celestial Farms on Wednesday.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Crider agreed they are cute, but they’re not as cuddly as they look. They scratch, sometimes bite, she added.

Crider said anyone considering a bunny must first do their homework and research the animal.   

“Make sure that your children are mature enough to take on the responsibility of this new pet and it’s a lifelong responsibility, not just a couple months,” she said.

She said the same goes for Easter ducklings and the newly-popular teacup pigs.

Celestial Farms is a nonprofit that also grows produce donated to local food pantries. The farm offers a co-op program, summer camp for kids and classes in areas like cheese-making. For more information, visit their web site.