Birds are creative, fun and colorful pets. Each bird has a unique personality that endears them to their owners. This also means that every bird will react differently to the changes associated with a move. Some birds will experience high levels of stress with even a short-distance move while others will take even the biggest ordeals in their stride. However, with proper care and planning even the most sensitive birds can be successfully moved and adapted to a new home.
Step 1: Research
For long distance moves, especially those crossing state lines, it is important to research local restrictions on exotic pets and find out if there is any documentation required for your feathered friends. Also take this time to locate a veterinarian for your pet in the area around your new home.
Step 2: Choose a Travel Method
With pet birds you have two options for travel: by car or by plane. We recommend car travel because this method will allow you the most flexibility in adapting the situation to best meet your pet’s needs. Air travel on the other hand, is very restrictive. Smaller birds that are generally quiet, may be allowed to travel with you as carry on baggage, if their carrier will fit under the plane seat. Larger birds will have to travel in the live cargo section of the plane’s cargo hold. If you must travel by plane, try to get a non-stop flight in order to limit stress, handling and the time in transit.
Step 3: Health Check
About a month prior to the move have your bird checked out by a veterinarian. This will give you peace of mind that your pet is healthy enough for a move, and will also provide you an opportunity to discuss your pet’s unique needs with an expert.
Step 4: Choose the Carrier
Carefully select an appropriate travel carrier. If traveling by plane, be sure to precisely follow their requirements. If traveling by car, you have far more freedom in the carriers you can choose. For instance, smaller birds may be able to travel in their regular cage if it fits securely into the vehicle.
Step 5: Familiarize
If your bird will be traveling in a new carrier, take a few weeks to familiarize them with it before the move. Add some favorite items such as toys and treats and leave your pet in the carrier for increasing increments of time each day. In the same way, if your bird is not used to being in a car, take them on short drives to get them used to the experience.
Step 6: Keep a Routine
In order to limit your bird’s stress, it is important to stick to their regular feeding and handling routine. There will be a lot changes happening. So, provide them with as much stability as possible in the days leading up to the move.
Step 7: Prepare the Carrier
For the actual move it is important to prepare the carrier correctly. Swings and hanging toys should be removed. There should be access to water, a padded bottom (in case you bird is jostled and falls), and a stable perch that is small enough for your bird’s feet to wrap 3/4ths the way around for a very sturdy grip. This will give them the best chance of making a safe journey.
Step 8: Control Temperature
Like most pets, birds do need to be kept in an acceptable temperature range and should be kept away from major temperature swings. Travel by plane will mean the temperature will be regulated, but you will have no control. Travel by car gives you more control, but you will need to be very careful to keep the temperature consistent. Inappropriate temperatures and temperature swings can increase stress and lead to sickness.
Step 9: Secure the Carrier
If traveling by car, use seat belts and other straps if necessary to secure the bird cage so that it will not shift during travel. Also consider how you will cover the cage. Some birds will do better with the cage completely covered. Others would like an opening to see out a car window. Still other birds will do well if there is an opening through which they can see their owner.
Step 10: Observe
During travel and after arriving at your new home, keep a close eye on your bird for any signs of odd behavior or sickness. If your bird begins to act strangely, such as picking out feathers. Take them to a vet immediately.
Step 11: Establish a Routine
To help your bird adapt quickly to their new surroundings, establish a regular routine as soon as possible. Most birds will also settle more quickly if they are surrounded by familiar items such as toys and treats.
By following these simple steps you will give your feathered friends a great chance at a successful move. For more tips on moving, storage and organization, check out the Sparky’s blog or visit us on Facebook.