News Poultry

Chicks shipped by USPS mail arrive dead in Maine


While the year 2020 has certainly been a roller coaster ride, it looks like it is far from over. Recently, the United States Postal Services (USPS) has been under fire for recent changes they made, which left many worried about mail-in ballots for this year’s election. On top of that, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree from Maine claims 4,800 chicks have arrived dead in the past few weeks amid those changes being enacted at the postal service. 

Pingree, a Democrat, took up her grievousness in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue, The Portland Press Herald reported.

Pauline Henderson, who owns Pine Tree Poultry in New Sharon, Maine, regularly receives chicks from a hatchery in Pennsylvania through the shipment of USPS. Henderson told the newspaper she was shocked last week when all of the 800 chicks sent to her were dead.

“Usually they arrive every three weeks like clockwork,” Henderson told PBS Newshour. “And out of 100 birds you may have one or two that die in shipping.” In the past five years of running her farm, she has regularly received chicks via the USPS.

In addition to her birds, Henderson said there were thousands of birds that moved through the USPS’s processing center in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, that had the same fate and affected several farmers in Maine and New Hampshire.  

For those who haven’t utilized USPS shipping of live chicks, there is a long list of requirements to follow for each shipment. According to the service website, not only has USPS delivered chicks and other small animals since 1918, it is the only entity that does so. 

According to University of Maine Extension, newly hatched chicks can survive for up to two days without food and water because they draw nutrition from yolks in the eggs from which they hatched. 

DeJoy is a longtime a Republican donor who became postmaster general in June. He’s the first person to have that job who didn’t ascend through USPS ranks.

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