Any Advice on Moving with Chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gnarled Carrots, May 31, 2016.

  1. Gnarled Carrots

    Gnarled Carrots Out Of The Brooder

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    We're moving (finally buying our own farm!) and are wondering about how best to move a flock of chickens. We have 9 chickens and are moving 2,000 miles. It's a 4-5 day trek driving 6-10 hours a day. We have a large truck and are bringing all of our furniture and stuff in an attached trailer. That leaves the entire 8 foot fully enclosed truck bed for the chickens.

    Tentatively, we're thinking about putting down a tarp and putting chicken bedding over it. While we're moving, we'd put the chickens in 2 large dog crates. Then, when we aren't driving, we'd open up the dog crates and let the chickens roam around the truck bed. There's enough windows that crack open where they could get ventilation, but that don't open enough for a fully grown chicken to get out. We'd also strap the dog crates to the side of the truck bed so that they aren't sliding around or moving during the trip.

    Has anyone done this? Does anyone have any advice? Thanks in advance!




    The chickens come from an NPIP verified flock. They're up-to-date on vaccinations and have a clean bill of health. We have all the necessary paperwork to move them across state lines. Strictly asking about logistics of moving a flock of 9 chickens!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like it would work. People bring birds to National Shows all the time.
     
  3. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    I am glad you asked this and will follow. We are in the military and considering trying to transfer back south from Maryland. I have a very good flock and would love to keep them. I wouldn't mind downsizing a few to make things easier but definitely would like to keep my barred rock and his five hens, my sebright bantam and my old english bantam, and my two turkeys. I have some good guineas but expect they would be better off staying here and hope the future owners of our house will want the coop, remaining chickens, and the guineas. Anyway, we would be looking at at least a 3-4 day move and I have been wondering if that would even be possible without causing undue stress or worse to the birds.
     
  4. Gnarled Carrots

    Gnarled Carrots Out Of The Brooder

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    It's nice to know that someone's encouraged about us taking them! Everyone who we've asked about tips for transporting chickens has wondered why we would do it. But really, they're pets. They're coming with us just as much as the cats and dog are! The last time that we moved we moved the cats in a similar fashion, so I'm assuming that they'll be fine.

    I hadn't thought about it, but people must move birds across the country for poultry shows all the time. People must do this! I'm not sure how well chickens travel, but undoubtedly they travel.

    We leave on Friday, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes!
     
  5. abqferreira

    abqferreira Out Of The Brooder

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    I moved about 15 hens across town in early summer, and they were much more stressed by the move than I expected. In the 20 min or so they were in the back of my car (in a large box), they were overheated and dazed by the time they got to the new place. I felt terrible and honestly think I wouldn't try and move hens again.

    I hope you find a better solution than I did, and good luck with your move!
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Oh my gosh, you are brave! [​IMG]
    That is so cool. Moving is STRESSFUL, even if it's for a good reason.

    It sounds like you have thought it out pretty well. If it's going to be too hot for them, you could put some frozen water bottles. I wouldn't be surprised if egg production drops during your move. I might even provide electolytes or probiotics. Whatever would help combat stress.

    We moved 650 miles and my hens found a great home. That was best at the time.
    Best wishes for a smooth transition, I think you can do it! [​IMG]
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sounds like a pretty good plan....
    Not sure if you stop for gas/pee/lunch and let the birds out of the crates they'd go back in when you were ready to get back on the road
    How will you tend to feed/water/re-crating without birds getting out of truck bed?
    I'd be concerned about monitoring the temp back there, while driving and especially when stopped.
    Night time security, windows open but are there screens that are predator proof.
    But that may all be moot since you are leaving in a 2 days.

    Looking forward to following along...Best of cLuck to yas!
     
  8. Gnarled Carrots

    Gnarled Carrots Out Of The Brooder

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    We're only planning on driving 6-10 hours a day, so we aren't going to stop for extended periods of time. During gas and pee breaks we'll open up the large hatch in the back of the truck to let some fresh air in, but we aren't planning on stopping for lunch or letting the chickens out. The only real stopping that we're going to do is when we park for the afternoon/night. With the trailer attached to the back of the truck, there also isn't enough clearance to actually open the door, so we're going to have to open the hatch and crawl over it. This means that the truck bed will never really be open. I'll just close it behind me and only open it again to get out and back in the next morning. I'll have to put all of the chickens back in the dog crates, but we've moved them like this before and they aren't too difficult to corall!

    We're going the northern route across the country, so luckily it won't get too hot. We're also in the rainy season, so we're looking at 50-70 degrees partly sunny or raining most of the time. Truck beds have a lot more ventilation than most cars do. The last time we moved we had the cats in a large dog crate in a similar setup and it never got above 70. It's actually cooler in the back of the truck bed than it is in the front.

    I'm also really not worried about predators. The windows in the back of a truck bed don't open like normal windows do. They just pop out slightly, about 1/2 of an inch at the largest point. Unless you picked up a gardener snake and dropped it through the side of the window almost 5 feet off the ground, no predators are getting inside!

    We could make them a little pen inside of the trailer when we stop for the night, though. We also have a collapsible chicken run that we're bringing. We could put them in the run while we're outside and can watch over them. I'd be a little worried about them picking up strange bird diseases while on the road, but it's a possibility. Especially if it gets hot while we're stopped.

    As for food and water, I'm going to put a dish in each of the dog crates while on the road so they'll have 24/7 access to food. I'm not entirely sure about what to do with water, though. Everything that I'm imagining will result in some very wet chickens! When we stop for gas I could fill up their water dish, let them drink, and then take it out again. Obviously when we stopped for the night they'd have complete access to food and water. We aren't planning on being on the road too much every day, so this might be fine. We could put some particularly hydrating foods in with them while on the road, too, like a watermelon.


    Thanks for all of the advice everyone! I'm starting to feel more confident about this. I'd really rather take them with us than try to ship them halfway across the country or leave them behind.
    It might not be their favorite thing in the world, but I'm trying to make it as comfortable as possible! I'd put them in the trailer but it's against the law to have live animals in a trailer while on the road. They also wouldn't fit in the front of the truck (we only have 1 row of seats).
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sounds like you've got it covered.....and the cat moving experience is invaluable.
    Watermelon is a good idea for hydration......if their food cups are secure, wetting the feed might help too.
    If you used horizontal nipples, water wouldn't be a problem at all.......but not the time to train to nipples, it can take awhile.
    Sounds like one heck of an adventure!!
     
  10. Gnarled Carrots

    Gnarled Carrots Out Of The Brooder

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    I was thinking that nipples would be great, but definitely not enough time to train them! I hadn't thought about wetting the feed, but that really might help. Thanks!
     

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