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Moving houses almost always presents itself with a lot more obstacles than you initially anticipated. In all the chaos of planning and packing, don’t forget that it always proves to be more challenging for our feathered friends. Birds are highly intuitive and sensitive to stressful situations. Moving with birds can make them feel hassled, as the mounds of boxes and new house adjustment are almost as tough to navigate as the journey itself. From steps to take in preparation of the move, to transportation-related advice, to caring for them post moving day, our comprehensive guide on moving with birds will prepare you to help your birds through the move.
CALCULATE MY MOVE
Moving with birds involves some thinking ahead and early
preparation to be done. From easing them into the motions of a moving car, to
purchasing a carrier, read on about the ways you can prep to make this an easy
journey on your birds.
A few weeks before the move, schedule an appointment with
your veterinarian to get a general health check-up and some grooming if needed.
Make sure you schedule it early enough to give you time to introduce any
medication or supplements before moving day. In addition to this, you can ask
the vet to provide an up-to-date health certificate. Tell them of the move and
ask for medical advice on what you can do to make the journey easier on your
Keep your bird in a room that is least used for any packing
and moving purposes. The more visual and auditory the chaos is, the more
aggravated and stressed your bird is bound to get. Additionally, ensure you
stick to its regular eating and sleeping schedules no matter how busy you get
with the packing.
Don’t try to have your birds stay in their usual cages while
travelling to your new home. While they’re certainly used to the familiarity of
their cages, you will definitely need something more compact and less bulky.
Travel cages and carriers are built to safely help your birds make a journey
while reducing the bulkiness you have to deal with. When it comes to sizes,
make sure it is big enough that your bird can comfortably sit upright on the
perch or on the floor. The perch should be wide enough that their claws go 3/4th
of the way around for ideal grip. Any larger and your birds will have a harder
time gripping it properly.
Trying to get your bird into a carrier for the first time
should never be left for moving day. They’re certain to be already stressed,
and coaxing them into a smaller, unfamiliar cage will only add to it. Instead,
get your birds accustomed to their travel cages and carriers in advance. Use
pieces of fruit as treats to entice them if you need to.
It’s a good idea to take your bird on short car journeys to
not only accustomize them to it, but to also see how they react. All birds have
different personalities and react differently to different scenarios. While
some birds can get excited with the journey and respond positively to seeing
people and cars outside the window, others may not like it at all and get
scared or stressed. Accordingly, you can decide which is best: giving your bird
a view of the world outside or covering them with a cloth, only keeping
yourself in their view from one side. Your bird may start to throw up after a
certain duration of time: remember the timespan so you can account for these
pauses when calculating how long your journey will take. Try to do this even if
you’re taking a flight on moving day as it will certainly help them deal with
the initial shock of the travelling.
Keep a few of their favourite toys and other important items
packed up to carry with you on moving day. Sending it in the truck means
running the risk of losing them or keeping your bird without them in case the
truck gets delayed. This should be among the first few things you unpack when
you move into your new home. All other
non-essentials can go into the moving truck.
Ideally, avoid giving your birds anything to eat on short
journeys. But for longer car journeys, keep pieces of fruit that are high in
water content in a separate box to feed your bird. Water is very likely to
spill, so giving them these bits ensures they stay hydrated.
The move will be shocking enough so it's important to reestablish
the birds’ regular schedule as soon as possible. But unless you’ve visited the
pet supply stores in your new neighbourhood, there’s no way of making sure you
get a supply of your bird’s regular food. It’s a good idea to have at least a
month’s worth of their regular food on you when you move to your new house.
The last thing we want is to see our birds in a medical
emergency. However, preparedness goes a long way. Look up the address and
contact of a vet - one that is located along your route as well as one in your
new town. This way, in case of an emergency, you waste no time in desperately
Googling this crucial information. Keep this information on you on moving day.
You can also ask your current vet if he has any recommendations among his
If you haven’t already, consider getting a leg band for your
bird. In the event that you lose your bird or they accidentally escape, leg
bands can help greatly in bringing them back home. It tells other people that
the bird has escaped, and is fitted with a serial number or a microchip that
can help you in tracking it down.
If your trip stretches over two days, ensure the overnight motel you’ve booked is pet-friendly and will allow birds. Open the cage to let the bird out for a bit after securing the doors and ensuring there’s no danger to it. Just make sure you have newspapers or a towel handy so it doesn’t soil the sheets or the carpet.
See also: Moving with Pets
Now comes the hard part - moving day. Understandably, you’ll
want to make sure your birds are fine, be near them and talk and whistle to
them so they feel secure in your presence. No matter how much we try, there is
only so much verbal and physical reassurance and consolation we can give our
birds. Here’s a list of more practical advice that can also serve to help ease
the strain when moving with birds.
Remove any items that are loose or could come off with the
movement of the journey, as this can easily hurt your bird. Line the bottom of
the carrier and travel cage in case they fall, or choose to ride out the
journey sitting on the bottom instead of balancing on the perch. Ensure the
doors are firmly tightened, and use cable ties to secure them even more.
As mentioned, you ought to be carrying a bag with all
related documents and a box packed with the bird’s things with you. Keep the
fruit bits handy, as well as the health certificate and the contact of the
vets. Lastly, keep a good picture of your bird and its leg band number or
microchip information on you.
Take the time to research the local and state laws of wherever you’re moving to regarding the breed of bird you own. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website is a good start.
Naturally, how you travel depends greatly on how the stress
impacts your birds. Buses and trains do not allow passengers to bring their
birds on. The best option you have is to travel by car. The movements of a car
are stable for the most part, and the reassurance of having you next to them is
sure to help calm them down. Plus, you get to control a lot of the journey,
whether it is in taking lots of breaks to calm your bird or playing upbeat
music that cheers them up.
For the sake of your feathered friends, try replacing the
much shorter flights and consider making the journey by road. However for those
cases where it simply can’t be helped, we have some advice on moving with birds
When it comes to moving with birds, your bird should be
accompanying you, being the last one out and the first one to arrive at the new
house. But their ordeal doesn’t end here. Just as humans take a while to adjust
to a new home, so do birds. Follow these steps to make sure your birds can
settle in with ease.
The cage doors may have been intact and your bird is
definitely in one piece, but take the time to look over your bird thoroughly.
Look out for any injuries or scratches it could have sustained during the
journey, especially if you’ve travelled by flight.
Your packing to-do list has to have two boxes of essentials
that you keep with you during the move: your own and your birds’. Unpack all
the items and set them up in a room as soon as you get into your new house.
Pick a room away from the chaos of boxes being hauled inside.
You needn’t put in all their toys and swings at once, but
definitely set their cage up to get them back into a normal setting as soon as
you can. Make sure you place their cage in a well-chosen spot that is neither
exposed to too much wind or too much sunlight.
Take breaks from the unloading to peep in and check in on
your bird. Talk to them and whistle familiar whistles even when unloading, and
make sure you’ve given them their food, water, and a few extra treats.
Nights may be a little daunting for your new birds as the
new location will have them a little scared for a bit. They’re likely to jump
at shadows and other objects in the room as they are not used to it, and their
survival instincts may keep them awake and alert. Sleep in the same room as
them for a few nights - they will take the sight of you peacefully asleep as a
sign that there is no danger or threat, and in case they wake up with a start,
you will be right there to reassure them.
This is an especially important step. In the weeks after the move, closely monitor your bird’s behavior. Check to see if they are eating, pooping and sleeping regularly. They should be back to their normal cheerful selves within a few days after the move. Watch out for quietness, untoward aggression, unexpected molting, plucking out of feathers and any other behavior that seems out of the ordinary. Pay a visit to the vet as soon as you spot any of these signs.
Understandably, you could still be jittery about moving with birds. You can always enlist the services of professional pet movers who are well-versed in the know-how of moving with birds. Lastly, make sure that you have the right movers for your move. The more reliable the moving company, the more attention you can give to your bird.
Also See: How to Transport Chickens
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