Chicks huddle under a warming lamp at The Highlands in St. Albans on April 24. Credit: Natalie Williams | BDN

Amid fears of politically-motivated disruptions in U.S. Postal Service deliveries, some Maine farmers are discovering at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars that baby chicks that used to be delivered to them while alive are now turning up dead, the Portland Press Herald reported.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, mentioned the dead chicks and their costliness to Maine farmers in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue. Pingree’s office has received dozens of complaints from farmers and other Mainers trying to raise chickens, the Press Herald reported.

DeJoy, President Donald Trump’s new postmaster general, has said he is halting some operational changes to mail delivery that critics blamed for widespread delays that could, if they continue, disrupt the November election. The statement by DeJoy, who is set to testify Friday before the Senate, comes as more than 20 states, including Maine, announced they would be suing to stop the changes.

The U.S. Postal Service’s media contact for the Eastern U.S. did not immediately respond to Pingree’s allegations. Farmers who have lost chicks said that several Maine and New Hampshire farms received dead chicks from the mail processing center in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the Press Herald reported.

Pingree told the Press Herald that the dead chicks are “one more of the consequences of this disorganization, this sort of chaos they’ve created at the post office and nobody thought through when they were thinking of slowing down the mail.”

Pingree said she included Perdue on the letter out of concerns for farmers, which estimated the value of each dead chick at about $32, depending on how it is processed for food. Pingree said the USDA is also responsible for enforcing farm regulations that protect against animal cruelty, the Press Herald reported.