With Christmas coming up, a lot of us are probably going to be travelling with pets. I can tell you that I’m pretty stressed out wondering how I’m going to safely transport my feathered friends via train. Having travelled by rail before with the birds, I know that people are always curious as to what’s in the cage – naturally! – and that some of the, er… less than savoury characters… can be down right aggressive about it. It’s also damn cold, so while I have a heat source packed, it’s still not going to be bundles of fun.
Here’s how I’m going to prepare with my birds:
Travel cages ready and sanitised.
Have a list, and check it
twice a billion times. No one is too good for a list. 😉
Make sure you’ve packed some favourite toys, newspaper lining for bird cages, a water bottle with fresh water, your pet’s usual food, cage covers, a portable heat source if it’s cold (like a Snuggle Safe), a snack that your bird loves – probably millet – and some kind of fresh veg or fruit to offer a bit of hydration.
Ptak, who is coming with us this season, will be living in his travel cage for a few days prior to the big day, since he’s so small. You want your bird to know where the food and water will be kept. Always try to familiarise your bird with the travel cage.
Ptak will have his favourite perches in his travel cage, too, for comfort. If you’re going to be travelling for really long periods of time, though, therapeutic perches and rope perches are probably a good idea.
A day or two before actual travel, we’ll move him and the others to a different room, so they know something’s up.
A good idea to increase your pet’s confidence is to take it on short trips out, gradually increasing the time spent travelling.
Have everything thought out. Itineraries – the usual. If you’re on the road (tracks!) for long periods of time, make sure to plan out rest stops for the birds and you. Take a few moments to offer your bird food and water at these points, and a little attention.
Right before you travel, try to encourage your bird to eat and drink a small amount – though not too much! You don’t want him getting motion sick. Offering a tiny bit of apple or romaine lettuce will provide extra hydration.
Remove toys and swings from the cage.
Upon arrival, supply your pet immediately with food and water, and attention if it wants it. If need be, let your bird sip droplets of water from your finger (Ptak likes to do this).
After he’s had a bit of time with you, find him a quiet, dark, secure place for sleeping. Use your portable heat source on one half of the cage if need be, but make sure the other half is uncovered.
And finally, try and keep to your usual routine when morning comes, to give your bird a little comfort.