Shipping Chicks in Winter

winterWinter is upon us and has brought with it the bitter cold.  We try to ship all year round except for the month of December.   Keeping the chicks warm can be a challenge  especially during the winter months.


I wanted to share the way I prepare the chick box when the outside temperatures are cold.  The weather is not particularly an issue with older chicks (chicks over 6 weeks old) as long as there is enough chicks in the box to keep each other warm.

The average temperature of an adult chicken is approximately 106 degrees F., a newly hatched chick is 103 and juveniles would be somewhere in between.  With chicks that are  completely feathered out (over 6 weeks) and have an established layer of fat (in good health) it doesn’t take very many to keep the temperature inside the box warm enough during shipping.  However, younger chicks that are not completely feathered out can not generate  enough heat to keep the box warm and need an additional source for help.

Although the post office should never set a box of chicks outside on the ground for any length of time  it has happened.  I had one postal employee tell me, when I went to pick chicks up at the post office, that they thought the chicks were hot in the box because they were cheeping so they set them out on the dock, when reality they were cold.  I explained that to the gal and she said she had no idea.  So they did just the opposite of what they should have done.

It doesn’t take long for a box to get cold inside if it sits on a cold surface.  We double box shipping boxes in the wintertime of chicks that are younger than 6 weeks.  Use caution with shipping warmers for chicks over 6 weeks old as they produce a lot of heat on their own.


If it is really cold I will insulate the bottom of the box with a layer of 1/2 inch Styrofoam  cut to fit inside the box .  Then I put a box on top of the styrofoam so the chicks can not peck it during the trip.


Below to the left is a box with the styrofoam, on the right is a box over the styrofoam inside the chick shipping box, ready for shipping.


If the box should be placed on the ground for a short period the chicks will stay toasty :)