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#70084 - 02/05/07 08:08 AM baby chick shipping nightmere
Dolly Llama Offline
Feather

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 30
Loc: Iowa
I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my baby chicks from McMurray Hatchery this morning. However I was shocked and heartbroken when I opened the box to find that almost all of them appeared to be dead. About 65 in all. After shedding a few tears, I rushed them home to put under the heat lamp in hopes that a few might survive. I was amazed that chicks that appeared dead, would be able to come back around in such a short time. Though most are dead, there are about 15 to 20 that might make it. I called the Hatchery and had a few choice words with them about shipping these poor little chicks when it is sooooo cold here. It has been in the negatives to around 5 degrees for the last week and a half and that's not including the wind chill. I felt so sorry for the poor little things that had to sit over the weekend in a cold mail truck. I wish the hatchery could have held them until today (so they came right here) or else called me to possibly pick them up. I live about 2 hours from the hatchery, but would be glad to drive that far if it meant saving their lives. I realize that they ship such a large quantity that they probably couldn't call everyone like this, but shouldn't they have some provisions in cases of weather like this? They have agreed to replace my entire order for next week however we are going to drive up there and pick them up, so this tragedy doesn't happen again. Has anyone else had a nightmere like this happen? frown

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#70085 - 02/05/07 08:58 AM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
Did you specify a shipping date when you placed the order?
_________________________
Rhea Dean

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#70086 - 02/05/07 08:59 AM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Rog Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 775
Loc: Missouri
Sorry for the lose of the chicks but sometimes I just don`t get it. 1. Why did the hatchery ship the chicks to start with in this weather ? 2. Were they drop shipped from elseware? 3. Why did the PO accept the shipment to begin with ? 4. And if you lived close enough to go get them why didn`t you go get them to start with ? Rog
_________________________
Fast Trucks , Fast Horses , Fast Women and Slow Chickens

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#70087 - 02/05/07 10:12 AM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Dolly Llama Offline
Feather

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 30
Loc: Iowa
Well, I'm sorry that you are blaming me for this happening, because I didn't go and pick them up. Shipping cost was cheaper than 4 hours worth of gas. I guess I trusted that the hatchery knew what they were doing. We've ordered them for this time of year the past 2 years and never had a problem. From now on, I guess I'll think twice about having them shipped. We try to get them early enough, so they are fairly mature for my kids to show at the fair. As an update, I counted the chicks and they sent me approximately 90 in all (I only ordered 65). 49 were saved under the heat lamp. It was like watching them rise from the dead. I'm at least happy about that. Those were some pretty tough little chicks.

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#70088 - 02/05/07 10:17 AM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Ducks-n-Geese Offline
Chicken

Registered: 12/13/06
Posts: 120
Loc: Louisiana
I had a problem last year with Metzer farms and my Post office. 6 of 12 mallards were dead on arrival.

I live in a rural area and they were shipped priority. What I learned is that I have to have them shipped express mail and then I have to ship them to the main post office in the next town over who calls me when they get there. This saves 1-2 days on delivery (cause 2 day express takes 2.5 days here to the next town's P.O.)

I'm sorry for your heartbreak. I know how you feel. ((((hugs))))

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#70089 - 02/05/07 10:27 AM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Dolly Llama Offline
Feather

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 30
Loc: Iowa
Thanks, I appreciate the sympathy. Now I seem to feel that it is my fault. Does your main post office in the next town over call you on Sunday? The lady at the post office said that some of the larger post offices receive mail on Sunday, so you could possibly have them shipped there. My post office is small and isn't open on Sunday.

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#70090 - 02/05/07 10:54 AM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Ducks-n-Geese Offline
Chicken

Registered: 12/13/06
Posts: 120
Loc: Louisiana
Yes, the main post office of the next town receives mail 24/7. The last time, they called me a 4:30 am on a Sunday morning. (I had told them to call me whenever).

What they suggest is to not address it to you in care of their address (which is what I had been doing).. but to address it to yourself and then tell them a day or two before to hold them and give them a note with your numbers. But I address it to myself in their % at their address anyway because then it has a stopping point. I have done this numerous times (I think *technically* they can send the mail back if you do that but with live birds I believe they wouldn't.. but with the PO you never know) and they always poo poo that I did it but nothing bad has ever happened. I'm done for the near future so I don't think it matters any more.

Oh, I also have the sender put on the outside of the box right below the address: WILL PICK UP PLEASE CALL 123-433-0000

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#70091 - 02/05/07 07:14 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Wyattdogster Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 493
Loc: Virginia
Last Feb, my chicks were due in on a Monday...frigid temps in the teens. I was worried sick since it was my first time with shipped chicks. Fortunately for me, the attendant at the USPS terminal at Washington Dulles airport had the sense to call me Sunday morning when they arrived and he strongly suggested that I come pick them up and not wait till they were delivered to my local post office. We were there within the hour to pick them up. There were several other shipments from McMurray...you should have heard the peeping in this cold, cavernous warehouse!! The attendant opened the box to make sure they were all OK. He was very helpful. I shudder to think what might have become of them if they had to sit there all night. I had 15 extras (packing material) red-star cockerels "added for warmth". Not a welcome surprise as I had to rearrange my set-up to have room for them. These were relocated when they were 3 weeks old.
Good luck with the survivors...and I am so sorry this happened...how sad.

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#70092 - 02/06/07 01:00 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Anonymous
Unregistered


Its a bummer to have so many dead chicks. We too had a delivery from Murray McMurray on Monday. We called on Saturday to see if they were actually sending them. We are in Wisc. and same thing with the weather. They said the order was already sent and if connections were good the chicks would arrive on Sunday, and IF someone worked on Sunday at the Post Office we would get a call. In reality they did not arrive until Monday and rode up front with the truck driver to the Post Office. We got a call at 7am on Monday.

I was surprised they would deliver in this cold, but as I thought about it, McMurray had to send them out. They cannot predict the weather a month in advance when these eggs were put in the incubator, (21 days) so they would have a lot of chicks that they hope survive delivery or a bunch of day olds that they need to dispose of somehow. Sure they would have to refund some people their money or resend orders, but how would it help them to not send it?

We ordered 250 chicks. 50 layers and 200 heavy breed roosters for meat. They sent only 49 layers and we are down to 41 at 24 hours (6 DOA). The heavies on the other hand.... They sent 293. Obviously not a valuable chicken to them laugh . 11 were DOA, 2 died within 5 hours and we have lost 2 more due to overcrowding. How does one accommodate 80 extra chicks??!! I think I have that issue solved now, but it took some work, especially when every store within 45 minutes is out of heatlamps & bulbs. Thank goodness for children's swimming pools.

So I called McMurray, regardless of how many birds in total they sent I want my 50 layers. They were really decent to me, and told me to wait on reporting how many dead until Tuesday night or Wed. morning just in case more died.

So in our case they will be refunding me for at least 9 layers, but they fulfilled my other order. If they hadn't sent anything they would have alot more orders to satisfy. I too order as early as possible, so the weather will be an issue.

The other thing I realized, last year I ordered only 25 in April, the percentage of dead chicks was about the same. So in my limited experience, the weather was less of a factor than the whole transportation issue.

I hate seeing all the dead babies. The first few days I hate checking the chicks seeing which ones died now. Knowing that this one or that is very weak and probably won't make it. But it is all part of it the whole process. Hopefully for me we have some of our issues rectified and the rest will do well.

Don't blame yourself. Unfortunately some chicks die during shipping. It happens.

I wish I could actually pick up my order, but it just does not make sense for us. Hopefully the weather next weekend will be more cooperative. Its supposed to get into the teens here!! :rolleyes:

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#70093 - 02/06/07 01:10 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Bec Offline
Bantam

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 56
Loc: Delaware
I have a question about ordering chicks.. When you place your order, do they take that amount of eggs and place them in the incubater to fill your order, or do they already have hatching eggs and pull them from there? I really hope that makes some kind of sense..lol

I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you..please don't blame yourself. I am sure it has nothing to do with anything you've done. I hope the babies you hae are well and happy.

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#70094 - 02/06/07 01:47 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Hello DollyLlama,

I know how you must feel, please don´t blame yourself!

We had some birds delivered directly by the breeder IN PERSON (yes, it´s the "famous" Schöneberg) and we recieved 3 dead Brahmas out of 4 in only 1 (yep, only one box!!!) carton with NOT A SINGLE air-hole;-( Mr. Schöneberg claimed to have packed the birds BY HIMSELF, yet he can´t be so silly to think 4 Brahma hens could survive in 1 small carton without fresh air for a 10 hour trip in his car!?! Schöneberg claims decades of experience in breeding!

I´d like to add we are really proud to be part of the FEW that fight Mr. Schöneberg, who indeed is very powerful (financial/political) and has lots of lawers;-) Nevertheless we so-called "crazy young alternatives" kicked his ass, Mr. Schöneberg was forced/punnished(sp?) to pay a fee to the animal shelter in his home town! So after all it´s the animals (in this shelter) that profit, this makes us feel we did the right thing, it´s ALWAYS for the animals;-)

Another thing: what´s this "cocks for warmth" issue all about? Didn´t I read somewhere they pack surplus cocks into the shipping box to warm the chicks? Again, I don´t blame you. As someone said before those folks get paid for doing their job, and if they don´t do it in a responsible way this is NOT your fault!

Best greetings,

Joachim

PS: If it wasn´t so sad it would be funny: guess who was blamed for the 3 dead Brahma hens? Yep, it was us! Why WE buy birds in Winter and why didn´t WE drive the 2,000 miles ourself, just anything was our fault... Nobody thought a single moment about Mr. Schöneberg who actually killed those birds by stacking hem into a box without air-holes and driving 10 hours to the place where we met (halfway between him and us). Hope our story did make you feel a bit better! Our feelings are with you!

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#70095 - 02/06/07 05:51 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Cranberry Creek Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 211
Loc: Canada
All this has really got me thinking. If I ever order from a hatchery or breeder I think that I will take extra care to make sure they arrive alive. I think I would wait until spring to order as well just in case.


Roman.

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#70096 - 02/06/07 05:58 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Dolly Llama Offline
Feather

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 30
Loc: Iowa
Thanks to everyone for the input. I was assured by McMurray Hatchery that this is very rare for that many chicks to die. Since the initial 49 came back to life, 3 of those have since died. All the rest look so cute and happy. They were really hungry and thirsty. I don't think they have stopped eating and drinking since. It really is amazing to me that they even lived. They looked soooo dead. I also don't understand the extra chicks. I had about 25 extras added for warmth. However they may have also been overcrowded and possibly smothered too. They always send Red Star Males as the extras. I think they probably just can't get rid of them and rather than cull them, they just send them as extras. We usually end up raising them and then selling them for meat birds when they are about 3-4 months old. However, I don't know where I would put 80 extra chicks. Thant would be a problem. Thanks again. McMurray is really good about making things right with the customer. We've had mix ups before and they always straighten it out. Thanks again everyone.

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#70097 - 02/06/07 06:17 PM Re: baby chick shipping nightmere
Kathy W. Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 273
Loc: New York
I hesitate to post this since I fear I will inspire outrage. Let me preface my comment by saying I like my birds. Of course it is very sad to receive dead chicks or to continue losing a few within the first few days of arrival. However...

The animal rights folks tried to shut down mail order chicks. That is the alternative. All of us who like to raise rare breeds, or common breeds in different colors, or just any breed which isn't raised in our local area would be out of luck.

In the genetics/breeding forum there is a lot of discussion about selecting and culling - that means killing. If you are trying to breed a particular body type, vigor, color (etc) you are going to get chicks that don't meet your criteria. If you keep them all, your breeding projects grind to a halt or you need a lot of space and facilities.

Many of us eat our birds. Some sell for meat. Is it better to butcher a bird (at the end of the bird's economic path) than to ship it and have it die in transit (at the beginning of it's economic path)?

I think we do the best we can by ordering from reputable sources, and maybe timing our orders to maximize the chances of a safe trip (not only our convenience and time lines). That would include not getting them during the hottest part of summer. By all reports, freezing to death isn't such a bad way to go - whereas dying of the heat is fairy horrendous. Then again, I'm not so sure how much we should anthropomorphize chickens.

Or we can stick to locally available birds.

Kathy

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