Moving My Birds


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Moving My Birds by Barbara Bouchard

Moving Must Sell:

Why does moving mean selling? Even after being on the road while moving from New Hampshire to Florida, with my 22 feathered kids, I still don't quite understand. Our birds traveled like champs and we have all arrived safe and sound in our new home. Listed below are some tips for those contemplating a move with feathered kids.

Laws:

Check with the state where you are moving to regarding their laws covering the keeping of birds. It is also a good idea to check with the individual states that you will be traveling through as to their laws regarding birds. For instance we found that it was illegal to possess Indian Ringnecks in New Jersey traveling with two on board meant, to us, that New Jersey was not the place to "hang around".

Health Certificates:

Available from your veterinarian, these certificates are not required for the transportation of your own birds across state

lines. But should someone ask, IT IS BETTER TO HAVE THAN NOT TO HAVE. Also since Health Certificates list each individual bird, it is a great way of proving ownership. We also gave a copy of the health certificate to our new veterinarian; he now knows in one glance what we have.

Transport:

Our "kids" ranging in size from canaries, ‘keets and parrotlets to pionus, ring necks and amazons were all placed in size appropriate carriers. The only exception being the eight male canaries who lived in a flight. We planned to move the "boys" in a cage smaller in size but still allowing ample room. We purchased carriers with grate tops for the big birds and small bird carriers from Pets International™ (available in two sizes medium and large. We moved pairs in the large carriers, singles in the medium carriers and for our handicapped canary we added a platform to one of the medium carriers to allow for his comfort during the trip. Secure but allow for removal, washing and refilling, in the motel of food bowls one for seed and the other for "wet food" (remember to place wet food bowls for easy access from the outside). Cover the floor of each carrier with a litter (we used one of the new litters made out of recycled paper fibers, and found that it worked really well. We did not put perches into the big bird's carriers allowing them to rest on litter, which we changed daily we did put however put perches into the smaller birds cages. We allowed toenails to grow a little longer than normal for extra gripping, but cut them upon arrival in our new home as the birds were placed back into their regular cages. Most importantly: SECURE EACH ACCESS DOOR WITH A CLIP FROM THE OUTSIDE.

Traveling:

To reduce the sun’s glare on the cages, purchase the glare guards sold in the baby sections of stores, these usually cling to the windows and can be moved as the sun changes position. We also purchased the material used for makings men's sports jerseys. It is nylon and has small holes in it that allowed the bird to see what was happening and still afforded protection. We used this material to cover individual cages for extra sun protection, after sundown and in the motel at night. We also place rolled towels at the joint of the seat and backrest to level the seat out and placed some spare moving boxes on top of the seat to cover and protect our car’s upholstery. For birds that are not good neighbors we put several layers of cardboard between the carriers. Keep emergency supplies with you, within easy reach. We packed: nail clippers, small wire cutters, tweezers and needle nose pliers for broken feathers, quick stop, Ornalyte™, a small container of water and lemon ice Gatorade™). Since there were two of us traveling in separate vehicles, rest stops were easy, one stayed with the car and truck and the other went for drinks, food, etc. The one who stayed with the car added wet food to the birds’ bowls. For those traveling alone bring a spare key along and leave the car locked and running with either the heat or AC on in a well lit area as close as possible to the rest area facilities. Unfortunately if traveling alone rest stops must be performed quickly, as you do not want to the car to overheat or stall. Food should be consumed within sight and earshot of your car.

Food:

Road food should include the birds normal seed diet, and wet foods. We used apples, oranges, grapes, cucumbers, watermelon and canned corn. Keep the days wet food pre-sliced in small airtight containers in a small cooler with ice. We used canned corn (don't forget the can opener). When we left NH each bird’s wet bowl was filled with apples and cucumbers (the best sources for moisture). When we stopped for a food break we added something to the bowls oranges, grapes, watermelon or corn. Most importantly plan to bring a month’s plus worth of seed with you for your birds. You will need time to find new sources of food, and as in our case, some of the foods that we feed are not available in our new area. A month's supply of food will give you ample time to locate new sources or switch over to a new seed or pellet. Bring water from your old location to your new location. We gradually switched over during the first week and none of the birds experienced any intestinal problems. We also added some Ornalyte™ to the water for the first few days once in our new home to help guard against stress and vitamin loss. After arrival and set up, fill their bowls with favorites. We did not feed pears or peas en route so they would be available to us for the first feeding in our new home.

Hotel:

There are several major chains, which allow pets (Super 8, Motel 6, Red Roof Inn and others). AAA publishes a book called "Accommodations offering facilities for your pet". Plan your route and make reservation in advance, there will usually be a surcharge for the pets in the room (this charge is well worth the aggravation that may occur later, should you not mention your pets). Once in the motel we placed the carriers on a painter's drop cloth, which we had covered the floor with, exchanging wet food for water and refreshed seed. We allowed them about a half-hour afterwards before lights out. To prevent night frights in unfamiliar surroundings we brought a night-light and left it on during the night. In the morning we allowed the big birds out time (on top of their carriers) while we cleaned the smaller birds carriers removing food debris and totally replacing the litter in the large birds carriers. We removed the water and replaced with wet food and added new seed. Once done, we reloaded the car, there the painter’s tarp in the trash and continued on. Please be considerate. Motels and hotels do not have to accept pets. Show your gratitude, leave the room as you found it. Always think of the next traveler with birds or pets who might want to stay in that same motel. Allow ample time in the AM before your departure. We found that it took us almost two hours to eat breakfast and shower, while also feeding, watering, changing litters and cutting the days wet food before finally reloading the gang into the car.

Moving In:

After arrival in our new home (late in the evening), we again refreshed seed, exchanged wet food for water leaving the birds in their carriers for the night. The next morning we set up minimum cages (food/water bowls, perches and one favorite toy). Since our birds had watched us moving out, we felt it was important for them to see us moving back in so we opted to leave them all in the living room (a central area). They watched as things familiar to them were moved back in and placed around them. Even though the planned bird room was available we left all the birds in the living room for the next few days as we set up the new house.

Ongoing:

It is now a month post move and all the "kids" are doing great, the canaries never stopped singing (even in the car on the way down) and the big birds chatted away for the whole 1355 mile ride. We have experienced no health problems or any signs of stress. Everyone is still fat and happy and our parrotlets look like they want to nest. Now where did I put their nest box?

Copyright: Birds of A Feather Avicultural Society August 1998

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