Mailability of Live Animals
Updated October 1996
This Customer Support Ruling discusses
the mailability of live animals.
Certain live day-old poultry, small
harmless cold-blooded animals, bees and other nonpoisonous and non-disease-conveying
insects may be sent through the mails when properly packaged.
The term "live day-old poultry"
includes live day-old chickens, ducks, geese, partridges, and pheasants (which are
mailable only from April through August), as well as guinea fowl, quail, and turkeys.
These animals do not require food or water for 72 hours after hatching. Cold-blooded
animals survive quite well for the period of time required for delivery. Bee
and insect shipments are normally provided with a small amount of food by the mailer
with which they can survive for as much as two weeks.
Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 601.9.3.4, states that adult
turkeys, guinea fowl, doves, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, and quail, as well
as ducks, geese, and swans sent by Express Mail in biologically secure containers
approved by the manager of Mailing Standards, USPS Headquarters, are mailable, if
the number of birds per parcel follows the manufacturer limits, and if each bird
weighs more than 6 ounces. Adult chickens must be sent by Express Mail under
the conditions of DMM 601.9.3.4.
Postal regulations covering the
mailability of live animals are based on the humane consideration of the ability
of the animals to survive without food or water while in the mails, the health hazards
which they may present to postal employees, possible injury to other mail and equipment,
and our ability to cover the costs of providing the service.
Anita J. Bizzotto
Washington DC 20260-3436