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Old 08-12-2015, 11:42 PM
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Default Long Distance Car Traveling

I've read through a lot of threads on this forum discussing traveling with your budgie and I just wanted to compile that info in one place to make sure I am not missing anything and clarify any uncertainties. More specifically, I mean long distance traveling in a car (as an example, the trip I plan is 800 miles and 12-15 hours).

HEALTH
The first thing to consider is your budgie in the right physical condition to even undertake such a journey? Have your birdie checked out by your avian vet and ask for a certificate of health, which you will likely need to show if traveling across state or national borders.

Also, I want to note that, in the opinion of my vet, since birds don't like change, they generally do not travel well. So if you must travel with them, be very aware of their needs.

CAGE
Now that your feathered friend has been given the green light by the vet, we should talk about what is appropriate travel digs for them. It is extremely important that whenever your vehicle is in motion, your bird should be inside their cage. Please do not let your bird be free in the cab of the vehicle, as this can be fatal in any accident or even if you just have to break hard. When going on shorter trips to the vet, a smaller cage or carrier is more suitable. Yet, for longer trips, they'll need something a little bigger. You'll want something smaller than their home cage but something bigger than a critter carrier. It is important that it is small because a larger cage means more room to be thrown around in during any type of road turbulence. Still, too small and your budgie can't fully stretch. What would be the ideal size?

CAGE PLACEMENT AND SEAT BELTS
Once you've got a travel cage, it is vital that it is placed away from airbags and properly secured with a seat belt. Your cage should be on a backseat, securely strapped in.

CAGE COVERINGS
To protect your bird from the sun and to ease their mind from the rapid movement of the road next to them, partially cover the cage with a light sheet or other covering. Clothes pins are an excellent method for keeping these in place. Cover the side of the cage closest to the AC vents.

TOYS AND PERCHES
Resist the urge to adorn the cage with all your birds' normal toys. Avoid hanging toys and swings. You don't want to nail birdie in the face with toys that are bouncing around wildly. Offer a shredding toy like a kabob that can be fastened down. Take a toy that will bring a familiarity of home to the travel cage. Bring one of your birds' favorites, but again avoid hanging, strings, or clutter.

Remove most of the perches. One should do the trick. Many members seem to like the flexible rope perches because they are easy for birdie to hold on tight to. Keep the perch low to the ground so that if your budgie should fall, the fall will be a short one. (I know birds appreciate being high up but it isn't worth the risk of injury of falling from greater heights).

FOOD AND WATER AND OTHER NUTRITION
Like any other situation, always be aware of your bird's physical needs. It is extremely important to keep your birdies hydrated and fed. If your bird is trained to use a rodent type water bottle, this is the best option to ensure they have water without the mess.

Prepare enough food and water for your trip before you leave home. Do not feed or water from any source on the road. Bottle enough water from your regular home source for the trip and some extra in case of emergencies. If you will be converting your bird to a new water source at your destination, bring enough water from your old source to gradually convert your bird once you have arrived.

All food should be pre-prepared as well. @Jo Ann recommends a 3 month supply. To encourage eating, place spray millet throughout the cage.

Be sure to supply your budgie with a cuddle bone or mineral stone. Electrolytes and probiotics are great to keep up your bird's immune system. You might offer Pedialyte.

NIGHT LIGHT

Use for night-time travel to help prevent night frights. It could be battery operated or plug in to the car's accessory port.

REST STOPS
Whenever you stop for food or bathroom breaks, make sure someone stays with the bird. Keep the car running so that the temperature control will remain on.

At these stops, be sure to check on your bird. Offer them fresh water and food. If your bird is sufficiently trained, you can let them out into the cab of the vehicle to get some exercise. However, make sure that all windows and doors are sealed and will remain sealed for the duration your bird is out of its cage.

If you are stopping for the night at a hotel or a friend's house, bring the cage into the bathroom and place it on a stand in the bathtub. With mirrors covered, toilet seats and doors closed, you should let your bird out to stretch their wings and legs. If you have a larger cage that you brought for birdie when not in the travel cage, this would be the time to put your budgie in it. Then they can go back in the travel cage in the morning, once you resume traveling.

Wake up early to ensure birdie is well fed and watered before you hit the road again.

Also, you may want to bring a hand vacuum to pick up any birdie mess (great for in the car too) and avoid any surcharges that might get tacked onto your room.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Because budgies are so sensitive to sudden temperature changes and drafts, it is very important to maintain a constant temp in your vehicle. If you have some type of thermometer, bring it. (I have a super handy mechanic's thermometer that works fantastically). Make sure AC and heating vents do not point directly at the cage.

Use recirculated air as often as you can to avoid the harsh fumes of big trucks or smoggy areas.

Make sure that the vehicle is to temperature before you even bring in the cage. This may take up to half an hour of your vehicle running.

When traveling in winter, provide some type of under cage heat source. @Jo Ann recommends Pet Snuggle warmers.

FIRST AID
This is an item that you don't want to go anywhere without! A vital item to have at home and in the car. This post outlines first aid essentials. It is worth it to read the whole thing, so I won't be summarizing it here.

CAGE ACCLIMATION AND TRIAL RUNS
Just like any toy, get your birdie accustomed to their travel cage long before you use it to travel. Place the cage next to their home cage for several weeks. Allow them to explore it and encourage exploration with spray millet or their favorite treat inside.

Likewise, before you take the big trek, do some trial runs around the block or to the park. Take your budgie on shorter trips to see how they react to traveling altogether. Some birds get car sick and may need to see the vet for medications.

BABY ON BOARD
Be aware of how you drive. Accelerate, decelerate, and take turns nice and slowly and easily. Look out for rough roads and sudden bumps. Drive safely and mindfully, your budgie will definitely appreciate it.

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Thank you Talk Budgies Forum for supplying all this information. Big thanks to Jo Ann in particular! If there is anything I missed or if anyone has any other information, please feel free to add it.


Last edited by FaeryBee; 02-18-2016 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Added Jo Ann's info about Night Light
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