Customer Support Ruling
Mailability of Live Animals
UPDATED June 2014
This CSR 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) 601.8 and Publication 52, Hazardous,Restricted and Perishable Mail, states that adult turkeys, guinea fowl, doves, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, and quail, as well as ducks, geese, and swans sent by Priority Mail Express 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 Priority Mail Express under the conditions of Publication 52.
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
Headquarters, US Postal Service
Washington, DC 20260-3436