mail order chicken problems : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

In an earier post sheepish mentioned she had heard of some mail order problems. I thought I'd pass ours along as I was wondering if anyone else had had unusual problems this year.

We got our chickens and turkeys from Belt Hatchery, we've used them in the past and they are very reliable and just all round nice folks to deal with. When we ordered they told us that there was a problems with airlines delivering live chicks and that they might discontinue doing it after some time in Feb. We placed our order to arrive before then.

We got our chicks a full 1.5 days late. When we looked at the airline routing they had actually (after a very very long delay at one airport) been shipped to Northern Kentucky Cincinnati Ohio airport and then trucked to us in Arkansas! We lost about 8 chicks and 16 of 20 turkeys! Belt Hatchery was very apologetic and did refund our money. We opted not to reorder since we did not want to make another batch of birds suffer so. Belt said that only one airline was currently accepting live birds and they were having lots of problems with the shipping. HAs anyone else experienced this?

We have decided not to use mail order hatcheries again, even though we have had good luck previously. WE now live in a much more remote area so that is part of the problem.

On a happier note, we have hatched our first chicks with an incubator at home and have a wonderful old broody hen sitting on 6 eggs now. Hope you all had better luck with your mail order birds!! Kim

-- kim (, March 18, 2000


Hi Kim. Murray McMurray hatchery has always used the postal service for sending our chickens. As I understand it, they send them on Friday or Saturday and we always get a call from our post office early Monday morning asking us to hurry down and pick up this noisy box of "cheep-cheeping" chicks. Although I'm generally VERY critical of the government postal system, we've been pleased with the efficiency in delivering live chicks.

-- Jonathan Lindvall (, March 19, 2000.

Kim: We ordered from Murray McMurray again this year, after having good luck last year. However, this year, the postoffice in the nearest large city (Colorado Springs) did not call us on Sunday, when the chicks usually arrive, so Monday I called them and sure enough, they were there. By the routing slip, they had been there since Sunday morning. Lost 11 out of 25, so Murray Mc. Sent us another batch of 25. This time only one was DOA, and we called the post office on Sunday afternoon rather than waiting. If we don't go in and pick them up, they are routed to the little town where our mail is delivered out of, and it would be another whole day for them. Next year, if we don't have any broody hens out of this batch so we can hatch our own, I will wait until April to get the chicks, so it won't be so cold. Have really had problems keeping them warm enough this year, even with heat lamps. Ours came by the post office, but they are flown on Northwest Airlines. Jan

-- Jan B (, March 19, 2000.

I concur with another post-er earlier somewhere (precise comment!) about giving your post office a heads-up that they are coming. I don't remember all the details we made with Murray McMurray, but we arranged to receive our chicks on a Monday and had the Post Office call us as soon as they arrived. I was working at the time, and went in late to work (planned) so I could pick them up, bring them home and get them settled into their little enclosure. They were all nice and close in their box, peeping a lot! We lost 1 out of our order (ordered 25, and they sent us 28) the first day, and 2 in the next couple of days. We also got a cockerel who has turned into the nastiest rooster monster I have every had! But I would order from Murray McMurray and pick up at the Post Office again. We have ordered a lot from out local Co-op, but have had cross beaked chicks, and spraddle legged chicks, and all else to select from. And have had less than good results sometimes.

-- sheepish (, March 19, 2000.

I'm afraid I wasn't very precise in my story telling. The problem wasn't with the local post office. We spoke with them several times before the chicks arrived, especially on the day they were due to arrive but didn't. The problem was that they went by air to Ohio and we live in Arkansas. That makes for a very long truck drive and an extra day in transit! Kim

-- kim (, March 19, 2000.

We got our 3rd order from MacMurry three weeks ago, 2 kinds of chicks no problems.

-- Cindy (, March 20, 2000.

Picked up my McMurray chicks this morning, all alive but two failing. By afternoon, the two were down, and I called McMurray and they gave me a credit on my account.

-- Rachel (, March 20, 2000.

In the mid 1970's I lost one chick on a McMurry order sent through the Post office to Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands. I though it impressive at the time. Now I am even more impressed. Now I live in Middle Tennessee, and hope to have land soon so I can order again. thoug I think with the stories I've heard I think about driving up myself, my regular mail here does not fair so good.

-- Michael M. McFall (, March 21, 2000.

WHAT is a good option INSTEAD of getting chicks by mail????

-- Suzy in 'bama (, March 22, 2000.

You are limited without ordering from a hatchery.You could check or put ads in your local paper ,feedshop ect.Check out local poultry clubs , 4-h clubs and such.You could also hatch out some eggs if you can find someone with fertile eggs.

-- Patty Gamble (, March 23, 2000.

Not that I've ever wanted to raise any of the exotic varieties but I've never needed to order chicks from a hatchery. All of our local feed & seed stores in my area carry chicks in the Spring. I didn't attempt to make a complete list but from the four stores that I contacted some of the available varieties were:

Plymouth Rocks, barred and white Rhode Island Reds Red Leghorns Production Reds Buff Orpingtons Gold Laced Wyandottes Cochins Black Sex Links

There were more but I was after Barred Rocks and didn't really pay attention after that but I did pick up some Gold Laced Wyandottes just for novelty.

One advantage of buying from your local feed & seed stores (other than supporting local businesses) is you don't have to buy a large number of them and you can look at what you're getting before you buy them. Spring is when all of our stores carry chicks so this is the time to start investigating.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5

-- A.T. Hagan (, March 23, 2000.

I realize I am posting this much later than the original discussion, but I stumbled across Kim's story and wanted to elaborate briefly on the subject.

This past February, we had to suspend orders farther east than Nevada. This was entirely due to a policy change not with the U.S. Postal Service, but with the airlines that the USPO contracts with to provide airmail services for. This particular airline decided to no longer accept air freight from the USPO at the Fresno Air Terminal. This airport is a smaller facility and most flights in and out of Fresno are small commuter planes. Consequently, space is very limited for air freight/cargo. Not only were we affected by this decision, but other local industry and business that releyed on air freight out of Fresno were severely damaged as well. Needless to say, it was quite an issue with Fresno City govt. officials.

As a result of this change, all air freight shipments, regardless of their status(Priority Mail, Express Mail, parcel post), had to be trucked from Fresno main Post Office to either Los Angeles or San Francisco Int. Airports. This route is 4-5 hrs and caused severe delays in connecting flights to out of state destinations. What used to take 24 hrs arrival time, turned into 48-72 hrs! This was unacceptable to us and in maintaining our standard of quality for our birds "at their time of arrival". This is why we stopped accepting the out of state orders in February.

Fortunately, we have since worked out a supplement that is placed in the box with the chicks when shipped and even after 3 days of travel, the chicks are arriving healthy and ready to go; the way we have always prided our chicks in being! So as of September, 2000, after several test shipments to the east coast with no trouble, we have reinstated our out of state ordering and everything is back to normal. The customers are extremely pleased with the strength and vigor of the chicks, which is the most important thing for us.

Thanks, J Belt Pres. Belt Hatchery

-- J Belt, (President, Belt Hatchery) (, October 27, 2000.

I may have a different situation in ordering chicks by mail. I ordered from McMurray and all my chicks arrived alive and chirping! I live in Memphis and I guess my area(delivery-wise)does not allow for my picking the babies up at the p.o., because they must be delvered just as the regular mail; different truck; I have been satisfied thusfar.

-- Chickens from the P.O. (, March 26, 2001.

Suzy- Try the First Monday Trade Day in Ripley,MS.They have all kinds of chickens. It will start this saturday.

-- Bettie Ferguson (, March 28, 2001.

We can thank PETA for most of the airlines not carrying chicks anymore. They sponsored a big campaign of airline harrassment and got almost all carriers to quit.

I think its a good idea to try to find a hatchery closest to you.

-- Earthmama (, March 29, 2001.

I use hatcheries that aren't all that far from me. They do not mail out on the week-end and orders are sent over-night delivery. They don't want to take the chance of birds spending a couple of days in a truck or building! Best to order on a Monday or Tuesday.

-- ~Rogo (, March 29, 2001.

Well, about 6 years ago, I ran down to the P.O. to pick up my wild turkey babies, and the box was empty! Of course, McMurry sent us more, but I always wonder if they are still flying around up there!

-- Cindy in Ky (, March 29, 2001.

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