Your Guide To Shipping Live Chickens.


Do's and Don't of shipping Live Birds
Please take care when shipping live birds.
We want your birds to arrive alive and in good condition!


✅ Feed and water birds prior to shipment.

✅ Place litter or bedding in the bottom of the box to collect moisture, reduce odors, and provide a foothold.

✅ Place a source of moisture in the box with the birds. This source should be something that will hold it's moisture for several days, not be able to be spilled, and be acceptable or accustomed to the birds such as sliced cucumber, apple, or orange. Do not depend solely on leafy vegetables as these will wilt and loose their moisture content very quickly.

✅ Inform the recipient of the expected delivery time so they will be able to unpack and care for the birds as quickly as possible.

✅ Consult experienced shippers if you have any questions.

✅ Check weather conditions in your area and at the destination to insure that they will not pose a threat to your birds or cause a shipping delay.

✅ Contact your local post office for the delivery schedule that will minimize transit time and insure delivery on a business day.

✅ Write the shipping address on the box in case the shipping label comes off.

✅ Use USPS Approved Live Bird Shipping Boxes.


❌ ship birds that are injured, ill, or under unusual stress.

❌ remove the white breathable membrane from over the ventilation holes. The membrane protects your birds from airborne pathogens, reduces excitability, and stress, and is REQUIRED by postal regulations.

❌ ship birds in very hot or very cold weather conditions. Remember, the temperature inside a closed container will always be higher than the temperature outside the container. This excess heat can be injurious or fatal to birds in hot weather. This is the reason for our complicated designs. Tolerance of heat and cold varies with species, age, and time of year. If in doubt -- don't ship.

❌ over pack the box. Too many birds in a box can cause over-heating and stress which can be harmful or fatal. Stuffing a box full of birds to save a few bucks on shipping is not worth the risk.

❌ ship birds over the weekend or holiday. They may become stranded!

USPS Rules for Shipping Live Birds

Shipping Live Birds USPS 

526.4 Adult Birds

526.41 General

Disease-free adult birds may be mailed domestically when shipped under all applicable governmental laws and regulations, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any state, municipal, or local ordinances. Mailers must comply with all applicable governmental laws and regulations, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any state, municipal, or local ordinances. Mailings must also be compliant with the requirements provided in USPS Publication 14, Prohibitions and Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Matter, Chapter 5. In addition, each container or package must be marked as required by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under 50 CFR 14. Adult birds must be properly packaged and able to sustain shipment without food or water because liquids, moisture, and loose foodstuffs can cause damage to the shipping container, other mail, and Postal Service equipment during transport.

526.42 Mailability Requirements

Adult birds are mailable only when sent under the following conditions:

❖ The shipment is mailed using Priority Mail Express service.

❖ Each bird must weigh more than 6 ounces and no more than 25 pounds.

❖ The number of birds per parcel must follow the container manufacturer limits.

❖ The mailer must secure containers approved by the manager, Product Classification (see 214 for address).

❖ A mailing container must be used that is constructed by a USPS–approved manufacturer

526.43 Claims for Adult Birds

Indemnity may be paid only for articles that are lost, damaged, or for missing contents, and not for death of the birds in transit if there is no visible damage to the mailing container.

Postage refunds may not be available if the Priority Mail Express shipment was delivered or delivery was attempted within three days of the date of mailing as shown in the “Date In” box on Label 11. See DMM 609.

526.3 Live, Day–Old Poultry
 526.31 General
The following live, day–old animals are acceptable for mailing when properly packaged: chickens, ducks, emus, geese, guinea birds, partridges, pheasants (only during April through August), quail, and turkeys. All other types of live, day–old poultry are nonmailable. Day–old poultry vaccinated with Newcastle disease (live virus) also is nonmailable.

526.32 Mailability Requirements

The specific types of day-old poultry named in 526.31 are mailable subject to the following requirements:

❖ Poultry that is not more than 24 hours old and is presented for mailing in the original, unopened hatchery box from the hatchery of origin.

❖ The date and hour of hatching is noted on the box by a representative of the hatchery who has personal knowledge thereof. (For Collect on Delivery (COD) shipments made by a hatchery for the account of others, the name or initials and address of the hatchery or the Post Office box number and address of the hatchery must be prominently shown for this standard.)

❖ Box is properly ventilated, of proper construction and strength to bear safe transport in the mail, and is not stacked more than 10 units high.

❖ Day–old poultry is mailed early enough in the week to avoid receipt at the office of address (in case of missed connections) on a Sunday, a national holiday, or the afternoon before a Sunday or national holiday.

❖ Day–old poultry can be delivered to the addressee within 72 hours of the time of hatching.

❖ Day-old poultry sent via surface transportation, must include special handling service fees, in addition to regular postage.

❖ Day-old poultry sent via air transportation must meet all provisions of the airlines. Delivery of the mailpiece is dependent on the availability of air carriers having available equipment to safely deliver the day–old poultry within the specified time limit.

❖ Day–old poultry that is first shipped via a commercial air express or air cargo service and then presented for mailing to a final destination must be in good condition and properly packaged as specified in 526.32a-e.

❖ Boxes of day–old poultry of about identical size, securely fastened together to prevent separation in transit, may be accepted for mailing as a single parcel, provided the total length and girth combined does not exceed Postal Service limits.

See Exhibit 526.33, Requirements for Mailing Live, Day–Old Poultry. See Chapter 7 regarding domestic mail shipments sent via air transportation.

526.33 Claims for Live, Day–Old Poultry

Indemnity claims (see DMM 609) for damage, partial loss, and loss of insured shipments of mailable, live, day–old poultry are accepted only in the following situations:

❖ Death of the live, day–old poultry resulted from Postal Service handling after conditions for mailability were met and when there was strong likelihood that the shipment could have been safely transported.

❖ Contents were lost because of damage to the container while in Postal Service custody.

❖ The complete package was lost in the mail.

❖ Special handling was purchased as required under 526.32f.