Thursday, September 22, 2011

Will Postal Changes Affect Mail Order Hatcheries?

We are extremely dependent on the US Postal Service (USPS) to ship our ducklings and goslings throughout the US.   For large orders going to customers near an airport, it is cost effective to ship air freight.  But for everyone else, the only alternative is the USPS.

The USPS has been losing billions of dollars the past several years due to a variety of factors.  Therefore, they are looking at multiple cost saving measures.  When new rules are being proposed by the USPS, however, hatcheries start to worry.

Following are three major changes coming to the USPS and my estimation of how they might affect mail order hatcheries such as ours.

1) No Saturday Delivery    This has been discussed for quite awhile.  In fact, I went to a Postal Commission Hearing in May of 2010 to present the hatchery concerns - which I reported in my blog.   They are not proposing the closure of Post Offices on Saturday - just that there will be no rural deliveries.  If you did have birds show up on a Saturday, you could still go to the Post Office to pick up your birds.  This is the normal procedure for most customers anyway - they prefer picking their babies up instead of waiting for their mail carrier.  And, as most hatcheries mail on Monday or Tuesday, it would be extremely rare for a shipment to arrive on a Saturday.



2) Closing USPS Distribution Centers   Due to the lower volume of mail, the USPS will be closing many of their mail sorting and distribution centers.  We don't know how this will affect the speed of your delivery.  We mail on Monday and they arrive at your nearest major airport Tuesday afternoon.  From there they go through a distribution center and on to your local post office.   We trust that our ducklings and goslings will still get to you on time.  In fact some of the distribution centers near us have closed.  The effect is that on those busy Mondays when we cannot complete our mailing by 4:00pm, we must take our birds 80 miles instead of 15 miles to the nearest distribution center.  But this is not a big problem.

3) Changing Standards  The USPS has delivery standards (how soon you will get the mailed piece) that they try to meet with all their mail.  There has been recent publicity on the ability of the USPS to save $1.5 billion by delivering the mail one day later than now due to savings in overtime and air shipping expenses.  This was a major concern to hatcheries as our birds must arrive within about 40 hours of mailing.  It would not work if they arrived in 64 hours - one day later.  However, the proposal to add a day in delivery standards was not for Priority Mail, which is what we use for day old birds, but for First Class Mail and Periodicals.  Each of these will take an additional day if the USPS does change their service standards.  The only two classes of mail available to live birds are Priority and Express.  Neither of these are scheduled to change.


So, for now, we appear to be safe.  The changes proposed by the USPS to save money do not appear as if they will affect the safe and quick delivery of your ducklings and goslings  (and chicks, keets and poults).  For more information on the mailing of day-old poultry, go to the Shipping Options page on our website.

3 comments:

  1. Watsonville, CA, has delivery on Saturdays, but the post office is NOT open (you cannot mail a package on Saturday.) Also, it is impossible to get the phone number of the local post office (as they are operated from San Fransisco, they only have a general purpose 800 number.)

    Everyone should double check with their local post office to be sure that they actually are open on Saturdays so that you can time deliveries accordingly.

    Watsonville is within driving distance of the hatchery, but I am sure that it is not alone in having no Saturday office hours.

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  2. Changes have occurred and will continue. However, if your local PO delivers mail on Saturday, somebody is there sorting that mail in the morning. During this time you can normally go to their "back door", knock and pick up time-sensitive shipments - especially if you make arrangements in advance. Yes, the postal 800# is not convenient but they will patch you through to your local PO if the operator cannot answer your question. Sometimes they even give you the phone number of your local PO.

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