travelling with chickens


In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 30, 2009
We are a military family and when I started my first beloved chicken flock I thought we would not be moving again. Well.....29 fabulous chickens later, it turns out we are moving from Washington state to Virginia in the summer! I have found good homes for the chickens we haven't really bonded with.There are still l5-19 that we cannot part with. I would LOVE to hear any and all tips for transporting chickens. Has anyone done this? What works? What doesn't? What about feeding and watering? How could I keep roosters quiet if I needed to? Tips about dealing with stress, heat, poop, odor and any thing else I might have forgotten. I have 4 months to prepare my babies for this adventure.
Poop is gonna happen. Smell is gonna happen. Unless your S.O. is willing to hold the birds while you do a shavings change in a plastic bag?

I use any of these:
rubbermaid tubs with plenty of air holes
Pet carriers (my personal favorite)
Rabbit/small animal habitats.

I use pine shavings for the bedding because they absorb liquid and use clip-on feeders/waterers that clip onto the front of the pet carriers.

Your trip is gonna be a bit shorter than mine. I will be moving in June from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania!
would be interesting to compare the mileage here --- since Washington state to Virginia is clear across the country, while in Oklahoma you are almost in the middle ...

may give a new meaning to the words "chicken tractor" ... LOL

as for "smell" --- if you haven't yet tried DE in the bedding, give it a chance, unless you know of a good reason why not .. this is the second bunch of chicks I've had on grass bedding, with DE gently strewn over obvious poo before new bedding goes on top

no smell at all from the first ten ... and so far no smell from the current seven

I would say, one consideration is that no exhaust emissions should get to the chickens

might be an idea to do what is sometimes necessary with dogs and cats -- take them for short rides to see how they cope

also figure out how to keep them at a reasonable temperature -- air conditioning can create some drafts --- and you do NOT want you or the chickens to endure midsummer in the midwest !

(been there done that, air conditioning went t/u in late July, from Washington state to Wisconsin ... Montana is miles of miles and miles, and HOT -- even with mist sprays and the fan running on high)

also think about possible jostling, from bumpy road construction, idiots on the road you must dodge, or fender benders

some thoughts off the top of my head
My relocations have all been very local - while yours sounds like quite a long-distance haul. The good news is that you get to keep your birds!
Best wishes for a smooth transition for everyone.
We have moved chickens but only 4 hours away. Dog crates are the best
You do need shaving in the crates and I would recommend DE ( diatomaceous earth ) FOOD GRADE! If they end up eating any of it you need to make sure it's safe for then. It is not to hard to move chickens, are they going to be in the back of a truck or in your car?
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We made the move from La. to Va. over ten yrs. ago and moved not only 20+ chickens but goats, donkeys and other critters as well. All did fine even tho we stopped for the nite. Chickens were riding in dog crates that were in a cattle trailer with everyone else and altho it was summer did fine. Have traveled with chickens in a suv and does tend to get a little strong smelling after a while. Ever had a rooster crow right in your ear? Good luck!
How about renting a small stock trailer to pull along behind your vehicle? You could put cheaper traveling cages in there, and line them up on the floor. It could also hold some of your own stuff, in you needed it to. We plan to move, and will put our birds in with the horses in our horse trailer. If it is hot, you may want a fan on constantly, but while moving the air circulates nicely. Good luck with such an endeavor. HenZ

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