UPC’s Letter to My Pet Chicken about Shipping Baby Chicks, December 9, 2011
Attention: My Pet Chicken
As the President of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic
fowl, I’m aware of the many problems entailed in shipping young chickens, turkey poults, ducklings and quails through the U.S. Postal
Service. Over the years we have dealt with young birds who were never picked up at the post office by the buyer and with birds who arrived at
their destination sick and dying. Dehydration is a frequent cause of their death, because once the internal organs dehydrate, no amount of
water drinking will restore them.
To suggest that there is any comparability of care between a mother hen and a mechanical hatchery and transport experience is incorrect. Bird
specialist Dr. Lesley Rogers sums up the facts of the matter in writing on page 70 of her book THE DEVELOPMENT OF BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR IN THE
CHICKEN that “not one procedure which involves the use of artificial incubation seems to mimic closely natural incubation by the
hen.” A mother hen turns each of her eggs, individually, as often as 30 or more times a day using her body, her feet and her beak to move
each egg precisely to maintain the proper temperature, moisture, ventilation, humidity, and positioning of each embryo she is sitting on. The
embryo signals its needs to her, and the hen responds with the necessary adjustment of her eggs. A mother hen also knows how to help her chicks
out of their shells if they need help. The hen imparts comfort and security to her chicks, which no machine can duplicate.
As for putting chicks in boxes and airmailing them to customers, this is cruelty. For example, the age of “day-old” chicks
frequently varies and chicks may sit in planes for hours longer than the scheduled departures and arrivals, due to air traffic delays. Imagine
how these newborn birds feel being put in this frightening and unnatural situation. For veterinary opinions on shipping newborn birds, please
Veterinary Assessment of Shipping Live Birds as Airmail.
I urge you please to stop shipping birds. Thank you for your attention and consideration. I look forward to a response from you.
Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405