how common is it for chicks die when shipped?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mastiffs07, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. mastiffs07

    mastiffs07 In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2014
    I ordered 6 chicks and just wondering if I should count on them all living or if I should get more? They will be my first chickens that I have owned. I'm allowed to have 20 chickens where I live. Everything I've read doesn't say anything about no roosters so I assume they are ok?
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! Make sure your post office, or the regional postal canter if close, knows that they are coming, and to call you AT ANY TIME that they show up. Plan to have your nursery set up, water ready, and turn on the heat lamp as you head out to pick up the chicks. I don't have birds shipped during the winter because of the cold here in Michigan, and always get more chicks at once. Some hatcheries do a better job of sexing the chicks than others, so getting a cockrel can be a real possibility. Sometimes chicks don't survive, in spite of everything; shipping is very stressful. All the best, Mary
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    Here ya go:
    How to Deal With Travel Stress in Baby Chicks
    You can use Poultry Nutri-Drench or Pet Nutri-Drops or Goat Nutri-Drench with your poultry of any age. Just make sure you use the usage and dosage instructions for the Poultry Nutri-Drench. I raised my chicks on Goat Nutri-Drench this year with good success. Tho the Bovidr Labs formulas are species-specific, they also meet the scientific standard for a universal formula.

    Best Success,
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  4. Purpletie3

    Purpletie3 Songster

    Apr 30, 2014
    Upstate NY...
    I just got mine yesterday....I lost 3. It was well packed with 2 heat packs but overdue a day. But, I live in snow country and we had a cold snap this week....50 last week and 20 this. I hope you have better luck!
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Some hatcheries hatch 80,000 to 100,000 chicks a week in season so you are bound to have some losses. And that’s different hatcheries, not all of them combined. If you hatched that many at home you’d lose some. Yet most chicks arrive fine.

    For some reason some chicks fail to thrive. They may hatch with something wrong with them inside or they may never learn to eat or drink no matter what you do. They are just not going to make it.

    You’ll see minimum orders from many hatcheries, sometimes 15 or even 25, depending on the hatchery, weather, or time of year. That’s so the chicks can keep each other warm through body heat during shipping. If the weather is projected to be bad, some will ship extra chicks, called packing peanuts, with your order for free to help keep them warm enough during shipping. These may be any breed and are almost always excess males. You can call and talk to them about their policy if you wish and ask for no packing peanuts.

    If you are getting only six shipped, they will probably come with a chemical heater, something similar to a hand warmer, to provide extra heat. That costs extra of course but works pretty well as long as there are no delays during shipping.

    Hatcheries are not going to ship dead or weak chicks if they can help it. That’s bad for business. How many weak chicks get shipped will depend on the individual packing the boxes so you can get some variation, but most are pretty good. Still, a few can get by.

    Most of the shipping disasters where a lot of chicks die come after the chicks leave the hatchery and are in the hands of the post office. The post office has certain policies about how the employees are supposed to handle live shipped animals. My brother works at the post office. He says that most people working there try to follow those procedures, but occasionally you get an %#$&%#@@# that throws packages whether they are marked fragile or not. It’s like any other business that employs a lot of people, a few are going to be bad.

    The really big risk is that the shipment gets delayed. The chicks absorb the yolk before they hatch and can live off of that yolk for several days without eating or drinking, at least three days and usually more. The vast majority of shipments are delivered within two days so things are fine. But occasionally a package gets lost or misdirected. They can be late which is not good.

    Another risk is that the box gets left on a loading dock in bad weather instead of being somewhere protected. If the weather is particularly rough that is dangerous.

    With all those things that can go wrong, the majority of the time all chicks arrive alive and healthy. Personally I would not order an extra chick just because I expected one to die, either in shipment or after I received them. But some do occasionally die. On some orders if they have extra chicks some hatcheries will include an extra chick of the kind you ordered just in case one dies. There are some things you can do to increase your chances though.

    Order for shipping during the better weather. Those eggs are put in the incubator three weeks before the chicks are to ship. You don’t know if you are going to get a freak storm or something like that which will cause problems during shipping. Heat can be as deadly as cold too. So order during the milder months instead of the extreme months. This is from someone who recently ordered chicks to arrive in February. I know the risks but I have a need and I truly believe most of the time they do arrive fine, even in the bad weather months.

    Try to avoid shipments during postal holidays. The post office will tell you that a postal holiday won’t affect shipment because they do have people working in the shipping centers and all that, but you’ll notice a spike in complaints on here at postal holidays.

    The hatchery will put your phone number on the package and the post office will call you when the package comes in, so be in a position to receive the call and go get them. Don’t wait. Before the shipment comes in call, or even better go in person, and talk to them about how they handle chicks. A lot of the time these shipments come in very early in the morning. Some postmasters are hesitant to call until a reasonable hour. Talk to them about that. And if they will let you pick up before opening hours, find out where to go if the front is not open and how you get their attention. There should be a doorbell or something to let them know to stop sorting mail and come see you.

    The way post office shipment works, the chicks will first be sent to a regional center before being shipped to the individual post office. If you really want, you might be able to set up them calling you from that regional center instead of waiting for them to come to your local post office if it is close.

    Have your brooder running and ready for them when you get home. Dip each chick’s beak in water as you put them in there. Then check on them pretty regularly to see that things are going OK. Several of the complaints on here about weak chicks or chicks that die after receipt are due to the way the people handled them after receiving them instead of conditions before or during shipment.

    I know I’ve mentioned a lot of things that can go wrong, which may frighten you. Most of the time nothing goes wrong and all chicks arrive healthy and stay healthy. Good luck!

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