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USPS® Container Requirements for Adult Birds

Disease-free adult birds may be mailed domestically when shipped under all applicable governmental laws and regulations, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any state, municipal, or local ordinances.

Which mailing service should be used?

Shipment of adult birds must use Priority Mail Express service.

Parcels

Description

The container must be designed with consideration of the birds’ comfort, awareness, health, and welfare. In addition, the container must:

  1. Remain intact and withstand crushing during transportation.
  2. Prevent the bird(s) from puncturing or breaking any part of the container with their own force, or escaping from the container.
  3. Contain shavings or similar absorbent material to prevent damage to the bottom of the container. 
  4. Have a plastic window for inspection of the birds. The window must be covered by a fiberboard flap that can be lifted for inspection.
  5. Provide sufficient exposure to air to allow the birds to breath normally through filter covered ventilation that minimize the chance of handler contact with solid or aerosolized waste.

Container Markings

Each container must be marked with the following information:

  1. Live Birds - USPS Approved Container # (once issued)
  2. Directional arrow indicating "up" position
  3. Complete delivery and return address

Testing Requirements

Testing is a three-day period of challenge with a full container of live birds. The test must be conducted by competent authorities to satisfy the following conditions: 

  1. Confinement of live birds in the container must neither endanger the health of the birds nor subject them to inhumane treatment.
  2. Environmental temperatures as high as 99 degrees Fahrenheit must pose no greater physiological stress on birds confined in the container than on birds in containers with conventional ventilation.
  3. Environmental temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit and lower for extended periods shall pose no greater physiological stress on birds confined in the container than on birds in containers with conventional ventilation.
  4. A reduced level of light and absence of visual stimuli should be evident in the container design in order to reduce the birds’ awareness of, being moved, sense of alarm due to the presents of humans or other animals nearby, and reduce their psychological stress.

A ready-to-mail bird container must be provided to the Office of Product Classification: US Postal Headquarters 475 L'Enfant Plz SW, Rm. 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. The container must be sent along with package test results that indicate each criterion was satisfied when tested by an independent testing facility.

Mailers must comply with all applicable governmental laws and regulations, including the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any state, municipal, or local ordinances. Mailings must also be compliant with the requirements provided in USPS Publication 14, Prohibitions and Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Matter, Chapter 5.

In addition, each container or package must be marked as required by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under 50 CFR 14. Adult birds must be properly packaged and able to sustain shipment without food or water because liquids, moisture, and loose foodstuffs can cause damage to the shipping container, other mail, and Postal Service equipment during transport. Adult birds are mailable only when sent under the following conditions:

  • The shipment is mailed using Priority Mail Express service.
  • Each bird must weigh more than 6 ounces and no more than 25 pounds.
  • The number of birds per parcel must follow the container manufacturer limits.
  • The mailer must secure containers approved by the manager of the Product Classification Office.
  • A mailing container must be used that is constructed by a USPS­ approved manufacturer.
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Contact

Contact

For questions about shipping adult birds, please contact the Office of Product Classification: US Postal Headquarters 475 L'Enfant Plz SW, Rm. 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. You can also contact a USPS approved manufacturer for more information on requirements.

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