New Chickens

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:43 am

Early Saturday morning, somewhere in Iowa, seventy-eight baby chickens were hatched. Yesterday morning, they arrived at my post office. They spent the day learning how to eat and drink and getting familiar with their surroundings: a blue plastic kiddie pool.

My neighbor is getting an order of just-hatched chicks in tomorrow. His operation is a bit larger than ours; his order was for a hundred thousand.

This same neighbor is plowing our field this week, so that the planting can begin.


  1. Webster City, IA, is one of the locations on my quarterly circuit of Iowa well drillers. I visit the drillers to pick up the rock samples they collect while drilling for water. Webster City is really pretty, small-town americana. I’d think you’d like it.

    Two questions, how does one mail live chickens legally and successfully?

    Also, are you paying your neighbor to plow or are you a new member of some sort of farmer’s cooperative?

    Comment by Matt — 2/5/2002 @ 10:54 am

  2. I’m not sure what the legal requirements are for mailing chickens. There are special shipping cartons you can use (most of them made at a box factory right down the road from me) to keep them from getting crushed. They get packed as soon as they hatch and mailed overnight. The airlines contract overnight mail from the postal service, so they can get most anywhere fast.

    (An aside: last fall, the airlines unilaterally announced they would no longer handle live animals in the mail. This would have shut down the small poultry industry and the bee industry. A quick grass roots campaign sprung up, and Congress intervened. For now, it’s all better.)

    When chickens hatch, they take the egg yolk into their abdomens. This gives them all the nutrients and liquid they need to survive a couple days. Still, as soon as they arrive, the first thing to do is teach them how to drink. Survival rate is high, but still I lost two. One arrived dead and the other, a victim of “straddle-leg” (where the leg hardens in the wrong position after hatching), died shortly after arrival.

    My neighbor is just being neighborly. I offered to pay him, but he shrugged us off.

    Comment by eric — 2/8/2002 @ 9:06 am

  3. Golly! You must have one HECKUVA good fence! ;^)

    Comment by Matt — 2/8/2002 @ 9:14 am

  4. can i buy a baby peep from u?

    Comment by Sara — 9/6/2002 @ 6:06 am

  5. USPS Mailing Info On Mailing Chicks: http://pe.usps.com/text/CSR/PS-106.htm

    Mailing of Animals In General:

    Comment by Laurie — 8/1/2005 @ 3:21 pm

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