Baby birds rescued from shipments
Farm Sanctuary takes surviving chicks and turkey peeps, offers them for adoption.
August 3, 2005

WATKINS GLEN - More than 140 chicks and turkey peeps arrived at Farm Sanctuary recently after they were rescued from separate shipments of live birds in Pennsylvania and New York.

Kate Walker of the Farm Sanctuary pets chicks that arrived recently after they were rescued from a shipment to a post office in Pennsylvania.

Adopt a bird
To adopt a baby chicken or turkey, call Kate Walker, Farm Sanctuary placement coordinator, at 607/583-2276, ext. 266, or e-mail placement@


About 45 chicks and an undetermined number of peeps died.

It is legal to ship live birds through the U.S. Postal Service, said Dominick Fazzary, a postal worker at the Watkins Glen office who was not involved in the case.

More than 100 chicks were shipped in a box and about 45 had died from suffocation and dehydration upon arrival at a Pennsylvania post office, the news release stated.

Farm Sanctuary officials are not disclosing the location of the post office to protect the identity of a postal worker who refused to return the surviving 55 chicks to their sender and instead contacted a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which contacted Farm Sanctuary, said Denise Ackley, sanctuary spokeswoman.

"It's considered a federal offense for that person to have interfered with the mail," Ackley said.

In a separate incident, about 200 turkey eggs were purchased online, but when they hatched, the seller learned many buyers backed out of the deal, the news release stated. The news release said the seller surrendered 88 of the peeps and allowed them to go to the shelter, which says all of them are underweight and suffering from feather loss.

The baby turkeys were taken from a location near Binghamton, said Kate Walker, placement coordinator for Farm Sanctuary.

Walker said all the birds arrived about five weeks ago at Farm Sanctuary, at 3100 Aiken Road near Watkins Glen, a farm animal shelter and advocacy program. The birds are all about 8 weeks old.

Details of the incidents were released Tuesday because little information was known about the birds until then, Walker said.

No charges have been filed in either case, she said.

"The risk involved with mail-order delivery of birds is just unconscionable," Susie Coston, Farm Sanctuary shelter director, said in the news release. "To think about newly hatched baby birds being shipped to various parts of the United States, enclosed in packaging with no regard for temperature, food and adequate ventilation, shows absolutely no respect or consideration for these birds as feeling beings."

Adoptive homes are being sought for the surviving chicks and peeps through the sanctuary's Farm Animal Adoption Network.