United Poultry Concerns
9 December 2011
Baby Chicks Make Bad Christmas Gifts: Protest to My Pet Chicken
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Please send a short letter to My Pet Chicken urging them Not to advertise and sell baby chicks as holiday gifts. This is a horrible, cruel practice, particularly in December. The chicks are mailed under postal conditions that do not provide food, water, comfort or any compassionate provisions for the newborn birds. Hatcheries like My Pet Chicken, along with the US Postal Service, have successfully lobbied Congress for permission to airmail newborn chicks as cheap “perishable matter” lumped together with non-living mail traffic. Even chicks who survive the shipping and handling ordeal often end up sick, weak, and dying on arrival as a result of the physical and mental trauma, starvation and dehydration they experienced in transport. Buyers are often ignorant of how to care properly and humanely for the fragile young birds, and their ignorance is encouraged by the postal service and hatcheries, so that customers will consider chicken-keeping “easy” and “fun.” In addition, unwanted baby roosters may be included in a shipment of female birds, by mistake or on purpose.

SEND your letter (best to use your own words if possible) to: info@mypetchicken.com


I am shocked to learn that you ship live baby chicks and I am respectfully urging you please to discontinue this cruel business.

Shipping day-old chicks is cruel and inhumane including the fact that many “day-old” chicks are actually 2 or 3 days old by the time they are shipped. There is no legal oversight. These fragile baby birds are deprived of food and water often for up to 72 hours or more and exposed to extreme temperatures. Dr. Jean Cypher, a veterinarian specializing in avian medicine, explains: “A day-old chick can no more withstand three days in a dark crowded box than can any other newborn.” Other experts in avian medicine and behavior agree that transporting day-old chicks in boxes for the first 24-72 hours of life is cruel and medically detrimental to the birds. Contrary to what the postal service and the hatcheries tell customers, newborn chicks in nature do Not normally go for 72 hours without water or food. In nature, chicks hatch with the help of their mother hen within 24 hours, 48 hours at most. See www.upc-online.org/transport/71408shippingbirds.html for more information.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I look forward to your response to my request and concerns.


(your name)

Shipping young chicks compromises their welfare. Letter to My Pet Chicken from Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D., Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California - Davis, December 6, 2011.

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 click on 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

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