By Matt Reese
Winter’s wrath is plaguing much of the country, causing shipping headaches nationwide and a first-ever challenge for Meyer Hatchery in Ashland County for delivering newborn chicks or “lives” throughout the country.
“Basically the U.S. Postal Service put an embargo on air shipments for ‘lives’ last week that basically made it so we couldn’t ship orders for this week. USPS is the only carrier for ‘lives’ and birds have to be shipped in 72 hours or they are not viable any more. The Postal Service ended up extending it to the end of next week, which makes 2 weeks in a row where we are unable to ship anything,” said Meghan Howard with Meyer Hatchery. “I understand why they did it this week. There were double-digit negative temperatures in a huge part of the country and we had hundreds of thousands of people without power. There was ice and devastation in Texas, so we understand. But we are an essential business providing egg producers and meat producers with chicks and it is very important to get things shipped out. We are not able to stop the hatching process because of the shipping embargo.”
While weather was the cause behind the first week of the shipping shutdown, backed up merchandise shipments are being blamed for the second week of cancelations. So far, Meyer Hatchery was able shift the chicks around to compensate for the challenge. Some shipping of “lives” is done by truck, as well.
“This is the first time this has happened and we had to come up with some ideas. We ended up using a lot of the birds from last week for our breeder flocks, so they will be our future egg layers for the following season. We did have a lot of pick-up orders and we always sell some right out of the store. We were able to make do. We also started a bunch for pullets, so they will be adults we’ll be selling later on in the season,” Howard said. “Moving forward, USPS needs to put a priority of ‘lives’ over merchandise.”