Keeping birds and parrots calm whilst travelling may seem like a daunting task as they can be fragile creatures, calmest when enjoying the comfort of their own homes.
Therefore, the thought of taking your bird travelling probably makes you rather nervous. However, sometimes it is unavoidable. Maybe you need to visit the vet, are moving house or are even planning on taking him to a friend or families house.
Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to ensure that the experience is stress free for your feathered friend.
The following are 7 easy ways you can keep your bird or parrot calm during travel:
- Use a sturdy and secure travel cage.
- Cover the cage with a blanket or towel.
- Get your bird used to the travel cage.
- Take your bird or parrot on some practise runs.
- Use calming supplements.
- Talk softly to your bird or parrot.
- Do not take your bird out of the cage.
In this article we will go into more detail on how to ensure your bird stays calm during travel.
Why is it important to keep a bird calm while travelling?
Exposing birds and parrots to high levels of stress is dangerous as stressed birds are more prone to getting sick, and extremely high levels of stress can even be fatal. This is why it is very important to keep your bird calm while travelling.
Use a sturdy and secure travel cage.
There are many types of bird travel cages to choose from, including:
- Dog Crates
- Flatpack Metal Cages
- Plastic Cages
- Solid Acrylic Cages
Each type of travel carrier has pros, cons, suit different bird species and serve different purposes. Whichever you decide to go for, make sure that the cage is good quality, strong and well-ventilated.
Strength is particularly important if you have a larger bird, such as a Cockatoo. You will want your bird’s travel cage to withstand your bird’s beak and claws, to prevent him from escaping.
Your bird’s travel cage should be smaller than it’s normal cage. That way, it will be lighter for you to carry so you won’t have to worry about dropping it. Additionally, having a smaller travel cage will prevent potential injuries as your bird could be thrown around in a large cage. Your bird will also feel safer in a small travel cage.
Of course, you should also take into consideration how long your travels will be, and thus, how long your bird will be in its travel cage for. If your bird will be spending lots of time in its travel cage, you should opt for a larger size, to prevent your bird getting stressed.
Cover the cage with a blanket to calm your bird.
This is VERY important if you want your bird to feel calm while travelling.
The world can be a pretty unpredictable place with new sights, sounds and smells.
If you haven’t got an appropriate blanket, a towel or jumper will also work. Just be sure there is adequate ventilation.
Your bird will feel calmer in a travel cage he is familiar with.
If possible, purchase your bird’s travel cage a few weeks before you plan on travelling. This way, you can spend time getting your bird used to it’s travel home so that he feels calm and comfortable on the road.
At first, do not to force your bird into the cage. This is very important if you want your bird to feel calm while travelling.
You want to avoid your bird associating its travel carrier with fear and stress. Introduce the cage during playtime and allow your bird to enter it at its own will.
Additionally, use plenty of your bird’s favourite treats to entice your bird into the travel cage.
This way, your parrot or bird will associate the travel carrier with positive things and he will therefore feel calmer while travelling.
Take your bird on some practice runs.
After spending time getting your bird or parrot used to its travel home, make some time for some practice runs.
Firstly, gently pick it up and walk around the house so that your bird gets used to the motion. Try to work your way up to having your bird in its travel cage for at least half an hour.
Next, it’s time for some real test runs outside the house.
Take your bird out for a quick drive around for block, or for a quick bus ride out to a coffee.
This will get your bird used to the sounds, smells and sights of being out in public. Therefore, he will feel calmer when it is time for your real travels.
Use calming supplements.
Some owners use stress-formula vitamins and minerals to decrease stress levels and also help prevent sickness which results from stress.
Avitec’s AviBios and Mardel’s Ornabac can be added to your bird’s soft foods, such as fruit.
Furthermore, some owners find Parrot Calming Formula or Calming Herbs for Parrots soothes their birds’ nerves during travel.
Talk softly to your bird to calm him.
Talking softly to your bird whilst travelling will calm and reassure him. He will know that he is not alone and knowing that you are right there will provide him with a sense of safety.
Do not take your bird out of the travel cage.
Your bird will feel a lot calmer in his travel cage under the darkness of a blanket.
On the other hand, outside of the travel cage your bird will be exposed to new sights, potential sudden movements and loud noises, which will stress him out.
Birds can be easily frightened and high levels of stress can even be fatal. Thus, it is very important that your bird remains calm while travelling.
Birds and parrots are prone to getting stressed whilst travelling. However, if you plan and prepare ahead, it can be a stress-free experience for you and your feathered friend.
Be sure to get an appropriate travel cage for your feathered friend weeks before your planned trip. This way, you can spend time to get him used to the travel cage. Cover the cage to calm your bird, and do some practice runs to get your bird used to being out and about.
Look out for any signs of illness during and after the trip, and take your bird to the vet immediately if you suspect that he/she is unwell.
Happy and safe travels! 🙂