(CBS) — A reminder to parents this Easter: Health officials say bunnies and chicks do make make good holiday gifts.

Every spring, Linda Estrada with the Animal Welfare League says the agency starts seeing rabbits and chicks — Easter animals that people realize they just cannot take care of.

“It takes about two weeks and you can tell just when they start having problems. They start coming in,” she tells Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding.

Estrada says rabbits have special dietary needs. There is also concern about infections with salmonella associated with baby chicks, she says.

“Rabbits and chicks — especially chicks — there’s a lot of illnesses that can be passed through if they’re not checked out,” Estrada says.

Last year, there were eight salmonella outbreaks connected to live poultry in the United States.

“Letting unwanted pets go into the wild isn’t the answer, either,” Estrada says.

Rabbits can’t survive in cold climates and many need care because they’ve been domesticated. Estrada says parents should consider stuffed animals or other gifts instead.

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