Need Traveling and Moving with Chicken Suggestions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by posey, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. posey

    posey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    Coastal NC
    Hi Everyone:
    I wasn't sure where to post this question so if anyone feels it should be posted some other place let me know.

    My husband and I will be moving 2600 miles in the next month or so. The trip will take approximately 7 days to drive.
    We would very much like to take our feather babies with us. When we arrive at our new place there is already a chicken coop waiting. The farm we will be moving to, is zoned for chickens, so we have that covered.

    My questions are concerning transporting, feeding, watering, etc of the chickens while we are enroute.

    We plan to crate the chickens in several welded wire pet containers with the plastic tray bottoms. We intend to keep the crates in air conditioning during the trip.

    We hope to be taking:
    5, 1 year old Silkies (4 hens and one roo)
    10 to 12 standard sized 3 to 4 month old chickens (4 Americuanas, 3 Australorps, 3 Welsummers, 1 Sexlink and 1 Buff Brahama) they are 2 months old now
    Also have two wonderful roos that we hate to rehome and would love to take also: 1 bantam Pyle colored Japanese Frizzle and 1 giant blue cochin

    Specifically I am looking for information about:
    • How much space per bird in the traveling crates? I want it to be large enough so they won’t be too crowded or have to jockey for food and water but no so spacious
    that if we had to stop quickly they would not get tossed around. We will make certain that the crates will have plenty of head room. How many chickens per crate?

    • What is the best way to water them? Don’t want the water splashing out of the containers. Do people use the nipple waterers for traveling?

    • Will they be okay in the crates (with water and feed) traveling for a week? Of course we will clean out the crates and keep things clean and fresh.

    • We plan to give them sliced chilled fruit and veggies for extra moisture and nutrition. Things like grapes, pears, apples, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber,
    tomato. Any other suggestions?

    • We were planning to cover the crates with clean burlap to help keep them calm. What do you think of this idea?

    • We will not be staying at hotels during the trip, too expensive and probably not a good idea with the roos if we take them. So now what do we do? We have talked about a number of things, driving in shifts round the clock, stopping at rest stops along the way to grab a couple of hours of shut eye. Would over-nighting at a state park or campground be practical? Again the chicken noise, roos the silkie hens who sing the egg laying song. What about stopping at a truck stop and parking far enough away so as not to disturb the truck drivers sleeping at night?

    • Do you have any other suggestions?

    Thanks very much
  2. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Wow, that is an ambitious challenge. Heading west or east?

    I would guess three extra large dog crates, 5 or 6 birds to a crate would do it.

    Nipple waterers make plenty of sense.

    1 gallon gravity bucket feeders secured to the floor or side of the crate.

    RV parks would be a good choice, as they have amenities like showers. Ask for a spot away from others.

    Sounds like you have most of the basics covered.
  3. posey

    posey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    Coastal NC
    Thanks so much Dogfish.
    Yes it's pretty ambitious to attempt to do this.
    We will be moving across the country into to your corner of the map but not quite that far our journey will end in NW Montana.
    Thanks again,
  4. KandJsmama

    KandJsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are there any laws concerning transporting poultry between states?
  5. nsanywhere

    nsanywhere Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    This does sound ambitious, but also a lot of fun!

    I would recommend camping - state/national parks are not expensive, and you get to see a bit of the world. Private campgrounds are good, too, but may have stricter rules. As long as the birds aren't wandering around, I can't see how it would be a problem since pets are usually allowed. Go to AAA for maps and books listing campgrounds so you can get an idea of the route and options for stopping. I did 2 cross country trips (without chickens :-( camping all the way. It was a wonderful way to see the country, and the $3 showers rocked.

    Your plan for the birds sounds well thought out. Nipple waters make the most sense. You could also try hanging a feeder in the crates? 4-6 birds per crate, depending on size of bird and crate.

    The air conditioning is a bonus since I would think heat would be one of the biggest issues. But also be sure they get some fresh air, either open windows when you stop for the night or leave a few cracked. Do give them some fruit and veg snacks, but don't be surprised if they don't eat as much on the trip. There will be some stress for them, obviously.

    They may not love the journey, but they will forgive you when they get to their new coop and have a good scratch!

    Good luck, and please let us know how it goes. This has the potential for some excellent stories!
  6. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Someone on this forum moved an entire flock last year using a rented cargo van and metal cages. It was here in the east, but several hundred miles traveling distance. If I can remember who it was I will post the link, as it had some good details.

    I second the campground suggestion, and would try to map out KOA campgrounds ahead of time. If bringing poultry is illegal in any states, I did not just type any of that. It was a computer error.

    Make sure they have plenty of water. The trip will be stressful for them, but I would think they could stay in cages for the duration. When folks bring poultry to the county fair out here, the birds stay in tiny cages for an entire week.

    There is a good chance your hens will stop laying after a couple of days. Just as well.

    I have thought a lot about a similar move, and here is what I would bring:

    fresh fruits and veggies along the way - cabbage, squash, apples, kale, Romaine, nothing too watery (I would avoid melon and Iceberg lettuce)
    water bottles
    Gatorade - orange
    large block (or 2) of Aspen shavings
    old bucket
    small hand whisk broom
    cat litter scoop
    bird first aid kit
    old towels
    small kitchen garbage bags

    I use a bucket, whisk broom and cat litter scoop to clean my smaller coops now, and I would use this for the travel cages. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN is the key to traveling with birds. Keep the whisk and litter scoop in the bucket, and zip through twice a day to clean up. Use the trash bags, and dump at your rest stops or campground.

    I would get them used to the nipple waterers beforehand if they don't already use them.

    My avian vet recommends half-strength Gatorade for birds who are stressed or just hot. I would use this at least every other day, but make sure they are drinking it and not freaking out at the change.

    Your birds will tolerate relatively small spaces for this brief period of time if you can reduce their stress. I would place birds I knew would get along in the same cages/crates. BE SURE to keep the temps reasonable, and of course never leave them in a hot vehicle. Watch for how the sun hits the cages in the vehicle, and cover appropriately. We have had animal heat stroke problems in the past from this simple issue.

    I have traveled across the US by car many, many times. What works for me, especially when I travel alone, is to do 12 hour days. You could do a 2600 mile trip in 4.5 or 5 days that way. When I used to travel a lot out West, I recall warnings about diseases at desert parks and rest stops. I would not let my birds range ANYWHERE along the way.

    When they hit their new home, they may experience issues with the local bacteria/protozoa - - I would be ready with Amprolium or Sulmet..

    Best of luck to you! I hope you will keep us posted on how things go.

    [P.S. - you totally rock for even considering this sort of move with chickens. It will be a landmark, and a great guideline for all of us on this forum, if you do share your experiences. [​IMG] )
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  7. posey

    posey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    Coastal NC
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far.
    Lots of great suggestions and encouraging support.

    I will keep a journal because we already have friends who want to hear about our crazy adventure, moving to Big Sky Country with chickens.
    When we built our coop we named it Cirque de Poulet, in english that translates as Circus of Chickens or Chicken Circus. Well now we will become the Traveling Chicken Circus.
    I'll keep ya'll posted on our travels.

    Anyone know of how I can check about transporting the chickens across state lines?
    Thanks all
  8. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    I'd probably ask for forgiveness rather than ask for permission. It would be good to check out the regulations though. Moving to Montana, nice. You or your significant other must have a job lined up. Best of luck.
  9. nsanywhere

    nsanywhere Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    found this:

    you might also check with USDA

    Because these are pets, not transported as business for sale/market/slaughter, I would guess that you would be ok. And since you are transporting yourself, also seems ok? I know when I take my cat on the airplane we have to jump through lots of hoops, but no biggie if I just drive him across state lines.

    If you get pulled over you could use that defense? "But officer, these are just my pets!" :)

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