How to Send a Bird for a Necropsy in California

By majormagic · Jan 25, 2018 · Updated Dec 26, 2018 · ·
  1. majormagic
    How to Send a Bird for a Necropsy

    They need the whole bird, refrigerated, not frozen. If you live in CA, there are four labs that do necropsies on poultry (chickens, turkeys, waterfowl) for $20, limit 2 per submission. They do out of state necropsies, but they but they charge for those. You could call them and ask what they charge for out of state "backyard poultry". The lab I use is the one in Tulare, CA. If you are in CA, call them and ask for their FedEx account number, it will save a bunch on shipping charges.


    18830 Road 112
    Tulare, CA 93274-9042
    (559) 688-7543
    (559) 686-4231 (FAX)
    [email protected]

    The other labs are listed here:

    If it's Friday, unless you want to overnight for Saturday delivery, I would suggest shipping on Monday for Tuesday delivery. What you need to do, if you haven't already done so is put your bird in your refrigerator, NOT the freezer! Then you need to find a box and line it with styrofoam (I use the 4'x8'x1" stuff from Home Depot). You can also get smaller pieces at an art store like Michael's, but is way more expensive. You'll also need at least one ice pack. Here are some pictures that I took of the last bird that I sent:

    Box lined with foam on four sides and bottom. Seams of foam taped sealed.

    Box, sides, bottom, and top.


    Frozen ice pack in a ziplock baggie.


    Brown paper on top of an ice pack.


    Hen in ziplock baggie on top of the brown paper.


    Brown paper on top of the hen.


    Ice pack on top of the brown paper.


    The lid on top of the brown paper.


    Inside the box, you should also include a submission form in a ziplock baggie. Do not tell anyone at FedEx that you're shipping a dead animal... that seems to really worry them. Just make sure that nothing will leak.

    Hope this helps!

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Recent User Reviews

  1. MROO
    "Important Necropsy Info"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Dec 27, 2018
    This is wonderful information. Please PLEASE do an article with the specifics on how to build the box.
    majormagic likes this.
  2. N F C
    "Very Helpful!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Dec 26, 2018
    I've never sent a bird for a necropsy but always wondered how it was done. Your article sure spelled things out and the pictures were helpful.
    majormagic and TwoCrows like this.
  3. Nambroth
    "Important "how to" for getting disease answers"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 23, 2018
    A very easy to follow guide for the sad reality many of us face: "Why did my bird die, and what caused it so that I can help the rest of my flock?" Sending a bird for necropsy may be morbid but it can give us the answers we need to move forward.
    majormagic likes this.


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  1. N F C
    Good info!
      TwoCrows likes this.
  2. TwoCrows
    Nice article, if you have never sent a bird in for a necropsy, this article tells you just how to do it!
      majormagic likes this.
  3. Feathers4Fun2
    Great article crammed pack full of useful information. No pun intended. Definitely archiving the article.
      majormagic and TwoCrows like this.

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