From what I've heard, the dye doesn't hurt the chicks, it is hatched and lives already dyed. It kind of stupid considering the beautiful coloring and markings that mother nature provides the chicks. On the other hand, it could start a lifelong love of animals for a child who gets one of these unusual babies from the easter bunny. I know in my case, I remember getting either colored ducklings or chicks for Easter way back in the 60's so who knows how long this has been going on but I am sure if it harmed the animals, it would have been stopped decades ago.
The coloring isn't the issue, it's sellign them to people who are completely unprepared to keep a chick or duckling alive and healthy. The one time I personally saw a batch of dyed easter chicks they were ALL roos so almost every child who kept theirs alive was goignot end up with an agressive pet they couldn't keep.
A freind once salvaged almost 6 dozen dyed chicks that had just been thrown alive into a dumpster after easter. She said there were five or six dead for every live one she found.
My mom used to get these for me and my sister for Easter when I was a child. (back in the 70s) Fortunate for these chicks though was that we had an established flock of chickens to intergrate them into when the novelty wore off...
However true but sad story, one that I will NEVER forget...
I had a little chicken like this and I kept it in a box by my bed. It peep'd and peeped. I would put it in bed with me and it would snuggle in and shush. I was a kid and didn't realize the chicky was cold. I just knew that it quietened when I put it in the bed with me. I fell asleep.
I rolled over in the night and squashed the chicky
So the moral of my story is that most people who buy chicks like this for their kids have no idea that they need to be with other chicks and under a light for warmth. That the novelty WILL wear off and what then for that baby?!
I don't think half the people who give dyed chicks as Easter gifts realize these chicks are going to grow up and need care. They don't think beyond the fact that the chicks are cute and a novelty dyed pretty colors.
I had never heard of dyed chicks at all until I started looking into keeping layers a few weeks ago. I really thought it was a joke until I saw it a few more times as I was learning which hatcheries are the "good" ones to do business with. It was shocking to think of the poor little creatures being given to those who wouldn't be kind to them. Of course if someone who already takes care of chickens gets one as a gift or receives one it's different. It's just not for me.