How to Move with Chickens?!

Aug 19, 2019
102
227
106
Statesboro, GA, USA
Big dog crates, or a shed, or some closed coop arrangement. Move them in big dog crates, not loose in a vehicle! You will have a mess, and escapees, who will be lost souls out there.
Is your coop large enough for eighteen birds? If not, it's time to set up something larger anyway.
Ask for permission to move something to the new place before signing, or to leave birds at the old place for another day. Somebody might be reasonable about it if you explain the situation.
Enjoy your new place!
Moving can be hell, good luck!
Mary
Thank you! I might be able to work something out with the previous owners of our new place. I just want to have a backup in case they aren't understanding.

My current coop is getting a face lift to be less of a run and coop combo and more of a coop-only set up until we can build something bigger and better at the new place. After that, the current coop with be used for emergency situations.

Yeah, I'm now realizing I'm very inexperienced with moving chickens. :lau
 

SnapdragonQ

Songster
Feb 2, 2020
381
2,133
153
VA
I also would not recommend loose in the back of the vehicle, even with a barrier. The chickens will not understand what is going on and could try to fly/jump out the windows and get injured. Not to mention seeing the trees/landscape/cars going by and freaking out.

Moving my farm animals involved a much longer drive but I did not have to go to closing or signing on move day. Here is what I did-
The night before, after they had gone to roost, I tucked them into larger well bedded pet crates. Two per medium size crate and 4 to a large crate. Being mindful of who was roommates to whom....obviously you would not want to put the most dominant chicken in with the most submissive one.
I used absorbent pine shavings...just like we put into brooders, and my crates were the solid sided ones like for air travel. Once settled in to the crates they went right back to sleep. In the morning I loaded the crates into the truck and made sure they had adequate food and water for the trip. It was summer and nice weather so that was in my favor.
The sides of the truck bed and strategically places hay bales helped create a large protective cubby, if you will, and I did have blankets and a tarp handy in case we got into any rain.

Once on the road I kept my back slider window open a little so I could hear any problems and I stopped every few hours to check on them and the other animals in my trailer. Unfortunately it was dark when I arrived at my destination but the birds were just fine. I knew it would be safer to keep them in the crates overnight instead of trying to move them in the dark to a strange environment. The next day I set up a temporary pen and got them settled and none was worse for the wear. Egg production stopped for a few days, but that is to be expected.

Because you mentioned they will be inside the vehicle, in a pinch you could use rabbit cages, metal crates, or even large tote tubs with the lids set cockeyed and taped in that position so they can get air and a little bit of light. The darkness will aid in keeping them calm during the short drive.

Good luck with the move and congrats on the new place.
 

Kris5902

Crossing the Road
Oct 12, 2018
3,590
18,894
762
British Columbia, Canada
In an absolute pinch you can also do cardboard boxes with lots of ventilation holes cut in, but I have managed to collect a good number of cat sized crates. I also have three commercial chicken transport crates for taking my birds to the processing plant. They are designed to prevent them from standing up fully to prevent them moving around or pecking each other/fighting. It is counterintuitively best practice to pack them in tightly so there’s not a lot of room for movement. This is the chicken equivalent of wearing a seatbelt. Legs and wings are fragile, sudden movements or rough country roads, you want to prevent injury. Of course this isn’t possible with tiny chicks. We use this in transporting the sheep as well, 15 adult sheep will fit in a standard cargo van.

It seems a little cruel, but it is best to transport without feed and water if at all possible. It took me a while to wrap my head around this, but unless it’s going to be a very long journey having feed and water is actually more detrimental, it spills soaking them, they could choke on it, and it will most certainly become fouled with poop. If it’s going to be a long trip or have very hot weather, then a stop for feed and water out of the crate is how I manage it. I had an all day early fall trip where I decided not to process one of my roosters, so while the other boys were all joining freezer camp and I was working at the plant with DH, he relaxed loose in the van with some feed and water in the shade. Of course this also meant I had to catch him and put him back into a crate for the trip home. He didn’t really eat or drink much anyway.
 
Aug 19, 2019
102
227
106
Statesboro, GA, USA
I also would not recommend loose in the back of the vehicle, even with a barrier. The chickens will not understand what is going on and could try to fly/jump out the windows and get injured. Not to mention seeing the trees/landscape/cars going by and freaking out.

Moving my farm animals involved a much longer drive but I did not have to go to closing or signing on move day. Here is what I did-
The night before, after they had gone to roost, I tucked them into larger well bedded pet crates. Two per medium size crate and 4 to a large crate. Being mindful of who was roommates to whom....obviously you would not want to put the most dominant chicken in with the most submissive one.
I used absorbent pine shavings...just like we put into brooders, and my crates were the solid sided ones like for air travel. Once settled in to the crates they went right back to sleep. In the morning I loaded the crates into the truck and made sure they had adequate food and water for the trip. It was summer and nice weather so that was in my favor.
The sides of the truck bed and strategically places hay bales helped create a large protective cubby, if you will, and I did have blankets and a tarp handy in case we got into any rain.

Once on the road I kept my back slider window open a little so I could hear any problems and I stopped every few hours to check on them and the other animals in my trailer. Unfortunately it was dark when I arrived at my destination but the birds were just fine. I knew it would be safer to keep them in the crates overnight instead of trying to move them in the dark to a strange environment. The next day I set up a temporary pen and got them settled and none was worse for the wear. Egg production stopped for a few days, but that is to be expected.

Because you mentioned they will be inside the vehicle, in a pinch you could use rabbit cages, metal crates, or even large tote tubs with the lids set cockeyed and taped in that position so they can get air and a little bit of light. The darkness will aid in keeping them calm during the short drive.

Good luck with the move and congrats on the new place.
Awesome tips and advice, thank you! :D
 
Aug 19, 2019
102
227
106
Statesboro, GA, USA
In an absolute pinch you can also do cardboard boxes with lots of ventilation holes cut in, but I have managed to collect a good number of cat sized crates. I also have three commercial chicken transport crates for taking my birds to the processing plant. They are designed to prevent them from standing up fully to prevent them moving around or pecking each other/fighting. It is counterintuitively best practice to pack them in tightly so there’s not a lot of room for movement. This is the chicken equivalent of wearing a seatbelt. Legs and wings are fragile, sudden movements or rough country roads, you want to prevent injury. Of course this isn’t possible with tiny chicks. We use this in transporting the sheep as well, 15 adult sheep will fit in a standard cargo van.

It seems a little cruel, but it is best to transport without feed and water if at all possible. It took me a while to wrap my head around this, but unless it’s going to be a very long journey having feed and water is actually more detrimental, it spills soaking them, they could choke on it, and it will most certainly become fouled with poop. If it’s going to be a long trip or have very hot weather, then a stop for feed and water out of the crate is how I manage it. I had an all day early fall trip where I decided not to process one of my roosters, so while the other boys were all joining freezer camp and I was working at the plant with DH, he relaxed loose in the van with some feed and water in the shade. Of course this also meant I had to catch him and put him back into a crate for the trip home. He didn’t really eat or drink much anyway.
I'm hoping to wrangle my parents into doing the actual transporting while I'm signing the paperwork. That way they don't have to sit around and wait, and maybe I can go ahead and get their coop on the ground quicker. That way they'll only be without water for an hour or so. Thanks for the tips!
 
Aug 19, 2019
102
227
106
Statesboro, GA, USA
Your plan is pretty sound.
Are the chicks and hens already integrated?
Yes, crate on tarp.
Best of cLuck!
Sorry, I didn't see the question about the integration. They are not integrated, because the chicks won't be here until Monday. My plan is to wait to integrate until everyone is settled in at the new place. The chicks should still be small enough to fit in my XL dog crate with my big girls loose in the garage. I'll complete integration over a couple of weeks given the added stress.
 
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