Traveling with Your Birds

Most birds travel pretty well. Iíve heard of the occasional bird getting car sick but this is a rarity. Before taking any long trips with your bird, try taking it on a few shorter rides to get used to the carrier and the movement. Also make sure to clip your birds before you leave if you plan on servicing the carrier at all. Escape is much more possible on the road and you donít want to be hunting down a lost pet in another state.

I recommend transporting birds in a carrier, rather than their normal cage. If you do have to use a cage, remove all toys and swings and just leave a single, steady perch inside. Place food in the dish but keep the level low to reduce spills. Remove the water dish completely. You can provide fruits or a water dish with a sponge inside (to prevent spills) to keep the bird hydrated, but I prefer to just water my birds every time I stop for gas and such. Bring water from your home if possible, since this is what the birds are used to and you know itís safe. Not all areas have bird-safe water.

If youíre driving alone you can put the birds up front where they can see you easily. If you are traveling with other people or have dual air bags, place the birds in the back seat. Cover the carrier halfway, enough so that the birds donít get scared by passing sights or overheated by the sun. While driving, try not to make rapid starts, stops and turns. Also keep the music level down, turn off the speakers where the birds are or switch to a milder form of music for the trip.

Itís always a good idea to plan ahead for long trips. If youíre staying in any hotels, make sure that they accept pets. Try to keep the mess and noise level down as well; you donít want the hotel to change its pet policy after your stay. If youíre crossing state lines, make sure its okay to transport your pet. Some states, like California, ban certain types of animals (CA bans a lot, actually). Quaker parakeets are outlawed in many states. Other things can also influence bird transportation. Right now (April 2003) there is an Exotic Newcastle Disease outbreak in several states. Birds can usually enter quarantined areas, but they cannot leave again. Trying to take birds out of quarantined areas can result in confiscation and euthanization right on the spot. Be careful and know the laws before traveling.

As for planes, Iíve never flown with birds. I have heard that airlines are becoming more unaccommodating towards bird owners though. Thereís a ton of red tape you have to go through, in addition to vet checks, carrier specifications and the added expense. Call long in advance if you plan to fly with your birds.

Feisty Feathers
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