Recommendation in moving an entire flock 1700 miles

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SteveBaz, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    #1 Our family has considered moving to another region of the country to get close to family after a serious injury and medical issue of mine. #2 Move closer in town but in another state!!! OMG!!! My wife feels she wants bc of our age to be closer to medical facilities and treatment centers and as opposed to the out skirts of town which is what I (me only) have preferred over our marriage. My bride of almost 30 years has always been someone to agree but is being more insistent to move now in our later years. She wants to do this while I still am younger (60) and wants to do it sooner than later.

    We have a a young small flock of 10 hens and can easily break down the coop or leave it in a crunch and build new. Have anyone done this? Please share your experience with me for I have fears of doing this. What did you do for temp coop and sleeper? How did you accomplish this transition regarding coop changes while the other needs to be built? My fear is re-homing my flock and starting all new? Again any or all your experience with this transition would be helpful and you suggestions and ideas would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I would build a travel box. I have a small version to move 8-10 birds at a time. We don't travel as far as you suggest, but do go over 500 miles.

    The travel box would have to be large. Have ventilation and room for the birds to move about, a bit. You'll need a small door through which to give water. You'll need to stop every 6 hours and delay long enough for all the birds to drink. All this is manageable for the experienced keeper. Feed is not nearly as important, but I also feed. Not an issue. Of course, the poop will be deposited in the box, but again, manageable for a chicken.

    Upon arrival however, it would necessary to have a plan to "house" them temporarily. I'm thinking the box you use to move as a coop and some temporary fencing will work. Yes, all this will stress them, but within a week, they'll settle right down. You will be familiar to them and that is important, I believe.

    Search the internet for poultry travel boxes/cages/crates. Then, draw upon your experience and your own ideas. That's what I did.
     
  3. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Fred for the comment. I was thinking like a refrigerator box from an appliance store from a display model. I have a dear old friend that could help me in that department.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Steve. Go plywood (OSB), chicken wire "windows", hinges, etc. Unless I misunderstood your refrigerator box as cardboard?
     
  5. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for your question since I too, have been pondering moving across the country in the next year or two and wondered how I could bring the gals along.
    Would you carry them in a trailer? Truck? Just wondering from that perspective. I have used temporary housing for them when they are sick, wood frame and plastic 1/4" mesh. I think that would also work well. I suspect they need light throughout the daytime so that they wake and eat/drink? Enclosed in a moving truck might be pretty dark. Just thinking out loud here, but wondering if you've got any ideas on this.

    Thanks so much,
    Colleen
     
  6. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fred's Hens :

    Steve. Go plywood (OSB), chicken wire "windows", hinges, etc. Unless I misunderstood your refrigerator box as cardboard?

    No you did not misread Fred I was being cheap. I am thinking in terms of temporary, real temporary. I could build a coop in a matter of days or less than a week if all goes well and the weather permitting. Please forgive my position and very interested in your reasoning other than a temporary coop on the other end of the trip.

    Coleen accept my apologies for no comment but I am at a loss to as to how this can be accomplished. I think I am a thoughtful and proficient bird owner with some experience but find myself in very unfamiliar ground here and open to all idea [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  7. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As near as I can figure, if you're driving 1700 miles across country, this is a multi-day trip. Sounds like about a 30hr drive time? For body and soul, this is not a small undertaking for you nor your flock!

    As for timing, only you know that. However, I've watched my now 90+yo neighbors who are now so elderly they couldn't move if they wanted to. Going sooner rather than later makes a LOT of sense to me. (Yes, I'm female, and I've told DH that we WILL be moving prior to my 70th birthday!)

    Please tell me you're moving your flock with a moving van (i.e. enclosed covered space). So your flock will be protected from wind and rain and whatever else you'll encounter on the road (rocks and road debris). A cardboard box won't stand up to 10 bored chickens inside a dark moving van (or even one with a 'lighted' top). At best, it'll be wet (from poo and water); at worst, they'll peck a hole through a side and 'check out' the contents of the nearby boxes!

    You'll want to build yourself a plywood and 1x2 box to fit the flock, include a single roosting bar for them to sleep on at night. Think impervious tractor - instead of hardware cloth sides, it'll have wooden ones (keeps drafts down too). I would leave a good portion of the top as hardware cloth - for ventilation. If you design it well, it could double as a mini-temporary coop when you get to your new location too. I'm picturing a raised coop without the legs attached. When you get to new location, attach legs and hardware cloth for a small run....and viola!, the girls are set!

    I did hear of someone on this board of moving their flock inside their vehicle cab (but they were 6wk old chicks). I wouldn't recommend this, unless you have a LARGE vehicle and LOTS of dog crates - two chickens per crate? Might work. Never done it.

    I've moved a LOT of things in my day (museum curator) - everything from million dollar paintings to fiberglass horse to Custer's Flag (yes, THAT flag) to all sorts of wierd stuff. If you're hiring a contractor to move you (i.e Mayflower), you need to discuss EXACTLY how this will work for your flock. Personally, I wouldn't move the flock with a commerical carrier - I would want to take care of my birds myself. That said, you might try contacting a small zoo near you to see what they do and how. Don't discount shipping your birds - lots of folks here do with auctions. See who's selling adult birds on the auction board and ask.

    Good luck! Does sound like now is the best time. Especially if you'll be closer to family that can help you as you go forward. I know I'm glad we were here for my mother-in-law as she aged and eventually returned to the Lord. I cannot imagine trying to deal with all the little odds and ends, if you're across the country.
     
  8. DianeS

    DianeS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have not moved chickens that far, but I have moved rabbits. It was difficult, but not impossible. One thing I learned is that there is no one, standard, accepted, way to move non-traditional animals. If you had one or two, you'd put them in a crate or box on the seat beside you in the car. But if youhave too many for that - then everybody has their own opinion.

    When I moved my rabbits, I put them in dog crates and cat carriers. Different sizes of crates, different numbers sharing crates, in whatever way I knew would be best based on their personalities. (Which ones like a small place to hide when they're nervous, which ones want a large window so they can see everything, etc.)

    We were driving a moving van and pulling a car behind us on a trailer. In August. So putting mine in the moving van itself wouldn't work - it would get too hot and they'd bake. The car had the same drawbacks, unless we left the windows down. And to leave the windows down meant risking getting the upholstery wet by driving into an unexpected rainstorm.

    So we fixed all that - we covered the entire inside of the car in plastic painting tarps! Then we put the crates into the car on top of the plastic. We intended to turn all the doors of the crates to the middle of the car to cut down on the wind they'd feel, but that made it too hard when we stopped to feed/water them, so they got turned around to face the doors. We stored their food and some emergency water on the floor of the car where the crates wouldn't fit.

    We put a cooler in the trunk, filled with bottles of ice water. All sizes from 20 oz to 2 liters. Then we packed the cooler with ice packs to keep the water frozen for our 3-day trip. This turned out to be VERY important because at one point we had a flat tire and had to wait on the side of the road, full sun, no breeze, for almost 3 hours. I was able to break out the ice water bottles, place them in the crates, and kept everyone comfortable during the wait.

    We had a hotel one night, and were concerned about the rabbits' safety. We had no way to carry that many rabbits into the hotel room - and even if we had done so, the smell was becoming an issue and would have gotten us kicked out. (amazing how much the smell built up in just 1.5 days of travel!) Our plan had been to park the car in the hotel lot, and use a baby monitor to keep an "ear" on the rabbits overnight, but there was no where in the hotel lot large enough to park it. So be sure to plan for that in your own trip. We ended up driving the van with the car several blocks away, to a street that looked nice and empty, and left it there. The rabbits certainly could have been stolen, because we of course left the windows cracked overnight, but it turned out OK.

    When we got where we were going, the rabbits were the first things out of the car. Out of the car, still in their crates, and on the ground, with full servings of food and water. Then straight into their hutches. Lots of shade and cool water the rest of the day.

    They were all fine.

    So that's how we did ours. I'll tell you some of the drawbacks of it, so you can begin thinking of how you'll avoid them. One is definately the smell. The rabbits got really dirty, and chickens would too. There was no way our itinerary would allow an extra 2-hour stop to clean the crates out. So I would recommend straw or shavings in the crates that the chickens would naturally stir up. that might help. Another thing was we anticipated being able to put down food and water and GO. That didn't work - traveling animals don't eat or drink, so we had to be at a stop for them to eat and drink. We also didn't have a way to keep the food and water containers upright, and they got tipped often, which made the smell and mess worse. We considered punching holes in the containers and wiring them to the crate doors or floor, but then I would have had to feed and water with the doors open, and that wasn't good either because of the possibility of escapes. So we dealt with the tipping - your choice may be different.

    Another thing to consider are the animal transport laws in the state you are going to AND the states you are passing through. If you are driving a large enough moving van, you will be expected to go through weigh stations. If the weigh station attendants suspect you are hauling something they need to inspect, they're going to stop you and inspect it. Now, silence is golden and we got our rabbits through without anyone stopping us. But chickens make noise. In our case, nobody was outside the weigh stations, they were all inside their buildings so noise wouldn't have mattered, but you do want to be sure not to advertise the fact you are traveling with chickens! For instance, don't double-stack the cages to let them be seen through windows.

    And when you get where you're going, don't worry about them getting a perfect coop right away. They just need somewhere that isn't moving and that is safe. They can live without perches or nestboxes even for a few days. Just walls and something on the roof. Even a lidded chainlink dog run would be good for quick setup.

    I hope this helps. If you put your mind to it I'm sure you'll find a solution.
     
  9. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off and foremost I want you both to know that your comments are taken with the most appreciation. There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG HERE but the safety of our animals. Thank You very much for your suggestions and ideas. 1 more comment is I have a CLASS "A" Commercial Drivers license and was a driver for SWIFT Transport for a few years

    Life is Good
    As near as I can figure, if you're driving 1700 miles across country, this is a multi-day trip. Sounds like about a 30hr drive time? For body and soul, this is not a small undertaking for you nor your flock! Agreed I figured 50 mph average without the time for hotel and that figures 34 to 35 hours

    Please tell me you're moving your flock with a moving van (i.e. enclosed covered space). So your flock will be protected from wind and rain and whatever else you'll encounter on the road (rocks and road debris). A cardboard box won't stand up to 10 bored chickens inside a dark moving van (or even one with a 'lighted' top). At best, it'll be wet (from poo and water); at worst, they'll peck a hole through a side and 'check out' the contents of the nearby boxes! Yes we have to much furniture that a trailer is not a consideration for anything other than garage items and water proof things. There will be a trailer behind my 1 ton diesel with the contents packet to the top of the crew cab with clothing more than likely. The box thing I am certainly re-negotiating and upgrading to a wood as Fred's Hens suggested because I love the idea of turning it into a temporary sleeper as you suggested (life is good) by screwing legs on and adding hardware cloth for a temp coop/run

    You'll want to build yourself a plywood and 1x2 box to fit the flock, include a single roosting bar for them to sleep on at night. Think impervious tractor - instead of hardware cloth sides, it'll have wooden ones (keeps drafts down too). I would leave a good portion of the top as hardware cloth - for ventilation. If you design it well, it could double as a mini-temporary coop when you get to your new location too. I'm picturing a raised coop without the legs attached. When you get to new location, attach legs and hardware cloth for a small run....and viola!, the girls are set! I like it however I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE 1X2? I have 10 birds 1X2is a concern for me you do not mean a 10 x 20 so what is a 1X2 for????

    I did hear of someone on this board of moving their flock inside their vehicle cab (but they were 6wk old chicks). I wouldn't recommend this, unless you have a LARGE vehicle and LOTS of dog crates - two chickens per crate? Might work. Never done it. You are kidding right 10 birds the smell would never come out!!! that is [​IMG]

    I've moved a LOT of things in my day (museum curator) - everything from million dollar paintings to fiberglass horse to Custer's Flag (yes, THAT flag) to all sorts of weird stuff. If you're hiring a contractor to move you (i.e Mayflower), you need to discuss EXACTLY how this will work for your flock. Personally, I wouldn't move the flock with a commercial carrier - I would want to take care of my birds myself. That said, you might try contacting a small zoo near you to see what they do and how. Don't discount shipping your birds - lots of folks here do with auctions. See who's selling adult birds on the auction board and ask. I did mention above in the first paragraph I am rated to 105,000 lbs and trained to haul doubles so as far as laws, rules, regulation and how to that is very covered

    DianeS
    When I moved my rabbits, I put them in dog crates and cat carriers. Different sizes of crates, different numbers sharing crates, in whatever way I knew would be best based on their personalities. (Which ones like a small place to hide when they're nervous, which ones want a large window so they can see everything, etc.) I have 3 very large Dog Crates and that may be the answer right there just by finding another on on CL

    We were driving a moving van and pulling a car behind us on a trailer. In August. So putting mine in the moving van itself wouldn't work - it would get too hot and they'd bake. The car had the same drawbacks, unless we left the windows down. And to leave the windows down meant risking getting the upholstery wet by driving into an unexpected rainstorm. We would be moving from Portland OR in March or April if at all in 2012 it may be in 2013 but this is a major move for us and hopeful the 1 and never move another time in our lifetime!!

    So we fixed all that - we covered the entire inside of the car in plastic painting tarps! Then we put the crates into the car on top of the plastic. We intended to turn all the doors of the crates to the middle of the car to cut down on the wind they'd feel, but that made it too hard when we stopped to feed/water them, so they got turned around to face the doors. We stored their food and some emergency water on the floor of the car where the crates wouldn't fit. This could never happen. The odor from 10 girls that are 20 weeks or more would be to much for the truck and to much odor to ever get out of my precious truck I have had for 16 years

    We put a cooler in the trunk, filled with bottles of ice water. All sizes from 20 oz to 2 liters. Then we packed the cooler with ice packs to keep the water frozen for our 3-day trip. This turned out to be VERY important because at one point we had a flat tire and had to wait on the side of the road, full sun, no breeze, for almost 3 hours. I was able to break out the ice water bottles, place them in the crates, and kept everyone comfortable during the wait. A very great idea!! Gallon Milk Jugs

    use a baby monitor to keep an "ear" on the rabbits overnight, but there was no where in the hotel lot large enough to park it. So be sure to plan for that in your own trip. We ended up driving the van with the car several blocks away, to a street that looked nice and empty, and left it there. The rabbits certainly could have been stolen, because we of course left the windows cracked overnight, but it turned out OK. The baby monitor is also a good idea and we have (2) 100 lbs Rhodesian Ridgebacks that have been raised around our girls and they are their charge. They have no problem sounding off if anything come any where near our property or what smells like ours

    Thank You all for your support and comments about this major trip. I still am interested in any other little or big ideas or tidbits anyone may have to offer​
     
  10. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just a thought from an old farm gal...
    I'd worry bout not enough ventilation almost as much as too much draft. It's my understanding that commercial haulers of animals have a system of not stopping once animals are loaded in order to keep air moving through the packed load.
    Also, rather than giving them lots of room, they can brace themselves against movement easier in a tighter pack.
    So while you are creating your moving coop ( which we all expect to see pictures of), I'd suggest a small very-ventilated enclosure for actual traveling with an outer enclosed area for them to move around in and eat/drink during rest stops. Small area for 10 hens=2x5=10 square feet? Yes, it's small but they can brace against one another if you have to hit the hooks. I'd make it all only 12 inches high and forget the roost during travel. Again-- very ventilated--screened on at least one side. Put the solid area into the wind. And put this on one the end of a3x5 area for exercise/food when you stop. Make some provision for scooting them back into the travel area when they are finished eating.
    This doesn't sound very luxurious but your concern should be safety if there is a problem during travel. Higher coop means a pileup if they all slide to one side. Too much room means more room to slide in a fast stop. We all can tolerate a bit of discomfort for the sake of safety for a relatively short time of a few days. Think Seat belts.
    Good luck!
     

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