How to move with pet birds?

It is difficult to imagine a sound more cheerful and more endearing than the joyful chirp of birds greeting the first rays of the rising sun. If you are used to hearing it every morning in your old surroundings, you will certainly miss the delightful birdsong after relocating to a new place. However, if you keep pet birds in your home, you will still be able to rejoice at their adorable twittering and warbling even after a residential move. All you need to do is organize your relocation carefully, so that you avoid any problems, undue stress, accidents and/or injury to your feathery friends during the moving process.

Although birds can use the magnetic field of the Earth like a natural GPS for their annual migrations, you cannot simply show your feathery friends the location of your new family nest on the map and let them fly to your future home. Moving house with birds is actually quite a challenge, so you’d better prepare well.

How to prepare for moving with birds

If you are moving with pet birds, you need to make sure that there will be no risks for their safe and successful relocation. Before you start your moving preparations find out if there are any restrictions or specific requirements concerning different bird species in your new area and get all the relevant paperwork ready.

Visit the vet

Not only is it a good idea to take your bird to the veterinarian for an overall check before the move, but you will also need to obtain certain documents and ask for professional advice. Discuss with your vet the best ways to keep your bird safe and healthy throughout the relocation process, such as including stress-reducing and immunity-boosting vitamins, probiotics or other supplements in your bird’s diet for a couple of weeks before the move, helping your feathery friend adjust quicker to the new surroundings, etc. Don’t forget to obtain a health certificate and any other paperwork that may be required to check your bird at the airport (if applicable) or to prove ownership in your new state.

Prepare an appropriate carrier

If you are going to move your bird in its own cage, all you need to do is take some safety precautions during the transportation.

In case you intend to ship your feathery pet by airplane, however, you will need an appropriate hard plastic kennel cab. Look for carriers that are specifically designed to prevent risks during a flight and eventual turbulence – the perch should be installed near the bottom so that the bird will not be injured if it falls suddenly and will not get caught beneath it. Mind the fact that the container shouldn’t be so large as to allow your bird to try flying (which could result in an injury) but there should be enough space for your feathery pet to move inside and feel comfortable. Wooden crates with slanted tops or chrome vented carriers are more appropriate for shipping larger birds with strong beaks.

Remember that every bird has to be shipped in a separate sturdy container that provides good air circulation. Let your feathery friend get accustomed to the carrier before the actual trip – encourage your bird to explore it and sleep in it beforehand – to reduce the anxiety levels.

Moving across country with birds

On Moving day, keep your bird in a safe room, away from movers and hectic moving procedures. Provide some special treats and talk to your little friend in a composed reassuring voice to show your love and care. Wait until the last possible moment to take your bird out of your old home.

How to travel with a bird in a car

To ensure a safe and trouble-free trip for your bird, don’t overlook any of the following simple but crucial tips for moving with birds:

  • Render the cage safe – remove any toys and swings, as well as the water and food receptacles and make sure that nothing could accidentally fall or shift inside the cage and hurt your bird. Then add tie wraps to all the sides and the door for extra protection and secure the entire cage to the backseat of your car (never just put it over a box or some other object as the cage may easily topple over!). Be careful what other items you place around it to eliminate the risk of heavy pieces falling over the cage and causing problems;
  • Provide comfort – cover the cage with a lightweight cloth or blanket to provide a sense of security and if necessary, use glare guards to protect your bird from direct sunlight. Let your air-conditioning running as birds are sensitive to temperature changes. Give your bird small slices of juicy fruit and vegetables to keep it hydrated and comfortable during the journey. When moving long distance, plan for stops to give your pet proper food and water and take your bird with you if you are going to stay in a hotel. Your anxious bird may try to escape if you open the cage, so be extra careful.

How to travel with a bird by air

When shipping your bird by air, you are advised to line the bottom of the carrier with paper and cover it with seeds to provide some bedding and enough food for the duration of the flight. It is also a good idea to place several cubes of juicy fruit inside. You may be requested to cover the sides and the door with wire mesh or hardware cloth for the safety of your bird. Label the container appropriately, choose a direct flight and avoid weekends and major holidays.

Have in mind that insurance may be required when shipping birds by airplane.

Adjustment period

After arriving in your new home, place the cage in a safe and quiet room away from the unloading and unpacking chaos. Give your bird plenty of food and water and arrange everything inside the cage the way it was before the move. Use the kind of food your feathery pet is accustomed to and dedicate enough time to your anxious friend. If your bird keeps plucking at its feathers more than usual, you’d better visit the vet as the moving stress may have taken its toll.

So, when all the relocation chaos is over, your bird’s cheerful chirp at dawn will once again inspire you with its enthusiasm and will recharge your positive and creative energy.


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