Moving across country is no easy feat, and if you're traveling with pets, it becomes even more of an undertaking. Pet birds are no exception. As a matter of fact, making a major move with your bird might take even more planning and preparation than moving across country with a dog or cat. In order to protect your feathered friend and get ready for your move, it helps to know just what kind of hurdles you might face when moving with your pet bird. Take a look at some tips that will help you understand what you need to do to make a successful move with your bird.
Visit Your Vet
Each state has its own rules about what animals can be imported into the state and what the requirements are for importation. Some, but not all, states require paperwork from your vet for your bird to come into the state. It's important to know where the state you're moving to stands on this issue. For example, if you're moving to Arizona, you should know that your bird needs a CVI (Certificate of Veterinary Inspection) that specifies that your bird has not been infected with or exposed to avian chlamydiosis. However, if you're moving to Alabama, you don't need any certification at all.
Even if you're moving to a state with no veterinary certification requirements, you should still make a trip to your vet to ensure that your bird is healthy enough to withstand the stress of traveling. While you're there, ask your veterinarian if they can refer you to an avian vet in the area that you're moving to.
Choose a Carrier
Once your bird has been given a clean bill of health, you will need to have a good travel carrier for your bird. Bear in mind that most professional moving companies will not carry a live animal of any kind, so you can't ship your bird on the truck with your furniture and household goods. However, using a professional mover to load up and deliver your possessions is a good idea, because it will free you up to focus on your bird's needs on moving day. You'll need to keep the bird with you or hire a professional animal mover. (Your moving company may be able to recommend one, if you want to go this route.) Either way, you will need a carrier. You can find bird carriers in most pet stores.
If you're flying to your new home and you plan to take your bird with you, make sure that the carrier is airline approved. (If you're not sure, call the airline and ask what specifications they have for animal carriers.) The cage should be tall enough to for your bird to stand up in, and preferably small enough to fit under your seat in the airplane. If your bird is too tall for a carrier that fits under the seat, you may have to purchase a ticket for your bird and its carrier. Whatever carrier you choose should have a strong latch, room for food and water, and a label with your name and contact information and the words "live animal" just in case. Stock the carrier with some toys and treats that your bird enjoys.
Prepare Your Pet
Birds are very susceptible to stress, and they usually don't enjoy traveling. That means that this move might be tough on your pet. You'll need to do what you can to minimize the stress for your feathered friend.
Introduce your bird to the travel carrier before it's time to make the move. If your bird has been spending time in the carrier already, it may find the trip a little less jarring. Be sure to stock up on your bird's brand of food before you move, in case you have trouble finding that type of food in your new home. Abruptly changing food can be bad for your bird's health, but if you bring your bird's current food with you, you can mix it with the new food, gradually adding more of the new and less of the old until your bird becomes accustomed to the new brand.
Moving with a bird requires some extra steps, but it doesn't have to be difficult. With a little preparation and an understanding of your bird's needs, you'll both arrive safely at your new home.
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