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How to Travel with a Pet Bird

Learn how to travel with a pet bird from veterinarian Laurie Hess in this Howcast video.


Dr. Laurie: So we're often asked, "How do I travel with my bird?" People love to travel with their birds and many birds really enjoy traveling. The thing to do is to prepare in advance. Birds are very habitual creatures. They like their surroundings just as they are and sometimes it can be upsetting for them to be moved. They'll stop eating. Sometimes they'll actually develop behavioral problems like picking, feather picking, if they're startled or scared or disrupted in some way.

So if you know that you're going to go on a trip, one thing you can do is get a very safe carrier. This is a very safe carrier here for our bird. It's a lucite, and she can see out and she knows what's going on, and practice at home before you travel. Maybe put the bird in a cage inside the house and feed the bird a treat. Make it a pleasant place to be. What else can you do, Sarah?

Sarah: Once you actually get the bird in the carrier you can work on just taking them on various short car rides. Even just walking them around the house first, so that they know that once they walk around in the carrier, they're going to go back home. Things are going to be okay. It's not scary. Take them in the car. Drive them around the neighborhood. Once they get used to that, go up and down a local road. Gradually take them from 15 to maybe 20 minute drives, so that eventually they learn that there's really nothing to fear when getting into a carrier.

Dr. Laurie: Absolutely, it's not impossible, even with the oldest bird who's been in a home forever and ever. I had a patient that had a 25-year-old cockatiel, which is very old for a cockatiel. She was an elderly woman, and she knew she had to move, and about two years before she was going to move she actually started practicing with this bird.

She bought it a carrier. She fed it in the carrier in the house. She walked around the living room, she walked down the hall, to the garbage chute and back. She drove around the block. Although she anticipated the worst and really prepared for this for two years, she was worried that the bird was going to just pass out.

She did fine and the bird moved and was just fine. So even though your bird might get a little car sick, which is a normal thing to do. You can travel with your bird. You can even go on a plane with your bird. You just have to check with your airlines and the requirements of these state or the country that your traveling to.

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