Best Shipping Practices

When handling and shipping baby poultry the Bird Shippers use these best practices to ensure that poultry arrives safely.

Day Old Poultry

Day old poultry are most commonly shipped via USPS Priority mail.

Day old birds should be shipped as soon after hatching as possible. Mother Nature provides baby poultry with nutrients from the yolk when they hatch, allowing them to survive shipping.

Most hatcheries ship Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays only. They do not ship on Thursdays and Fridays in order to avoid packages being held up over the weekend.

It is important to work around holidays that impact USPS shipping. For example, if Independence Day falls on a Friday, it is best to avoid shipping on Wednesday since those packages
could be held up due to the holiday on Friday.

Great care should be taken in handling and packaging of chicks. While each hatchery may use slightly different practices, they typically follow certain guidelines, including:

  • Using boxes specially designed to ship poultry. These boxes have adequate ventilation holes and have the sides of the box at a slight angle to prevent the ventilation holes
    from being blocked by other packages.
  • Monitoring weather and packaging poultry accordingly. For example, using fewer air holes during colder periods and more air holes during warmer periods.
  • Using appropriately sized boxes depending on the number of birds shipped to prevent over-crowding.
  • Establishing appropriate shipping minimums so that the chicks can keep warm and so that they do not slide around the box too much.

National Poultry Improvement Plan

Hatcheries that ship poultry across state lines must participate with National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP).

• The NPIP monitors the movement of poultry across state lines. Every shipment of poultry must be reported to the NPIP on a VS9-3 form. The VS9-3 form must include the ship date,
breed(s) shipped, shipping address, originating hatchery, and the NPIP shields of the shipping hatchery.

• NPIP shields indicate the NPIP status that the hatchery has obtained. A few of the most common NPIP statuses are Salmonella Monitored, H5/H7 Avian Influenza Clean, and Pullorum-Typhoid
clean. To obtain these shields/statuses, hatcheries must comply with the NPIP program required testing.

• More information on the NPIP can be found at

• If you are interested in shipping poultry and would like to get started, the first step would be to contact your Official State Agency. These agencies work with the NPIP and can advise you
on how to get started, what the shields are required to ship, and how to obtain those shields. Here is a link to the latest Official State Agency listing: