Stress is something that birds are particularly vulnerable to experiencing. As a prey animal, birds have heightened senses and any changes to their surroundings and environment, loud noises and movements, can easily trigger a stress response.
Due to their sensitivity to stress, shipping birds is often a significant stress-inducing event, yet it is often unavoidable.
However, moving birds isn’t usually a common occurrence, so it is important to do everything possible to reduce the potential for stress during rare events such as these.
With overseas bird transportation, comes a fair amount of paperwork and preparation. What exactly you need to do will depend on the specific destination as some have strict procedures for importing birds. Requirements can vary depending on the country, type of bird, the volume of birds, etc, so it can also be very useful to seek support from bird shipping experts to ensure you have all the necessary information relating to your specific circumstances.
Therefore, planning is extremely important, as it will allow you to have a well thought out and executed plan in place. A last-minute rush could potentially have a knock-on effect on the entire process, leaving you vulnerable to potential chaos. This inevitably leads you and your bird to be vulnerable to stress.
Ultimately, the more calm, organised and methodical your approach, the more likely you are to be on top of everything required and this should lead to a smooth transition.
Manage Own Stress Levels
Birds can easily pick up on your stress – if you are stress, so will your bird! If you are especially close, they may even look to you to gauge how safe they are in a particular situation. Therefore, being mindful of this can help you to keep calm and assure your pet that everything is ok and safe.
Bird Carrier Familiarity
As you will need to use an airline-approved bird carriers, it is best to spend some time getting your bird familiar with this new environment.
Try and mimic their usual cage environment as much as possible, by putting their favourite toys, perches, etc. It can also be useful to put a small item of clothing in the carrier so there is a familiar scent with them through the journey. These should hopefully act as ‘calming’ vices.
Use tasty treats, toys and play to make this a positive association for them. To begin with, keep the door to the carrier open until you can visibly see no signs of stress in your pet bird.
Most bird species kept as pets are diurnal (active during daylight hours), so you can utilise this to induce a more relaxed ‘bedtime’ state.
Obviously, this wouldn’t work if you are transporting a bird of prey, but otherwise, darkness could be a key contender to helping avoid a stressed budgie.
To imitate night-time, you can cover the carrier in a thin fabric, whilst ensuring there is plenty of ventilation. This will not only darken the crate but also reduce visibility for your pet, which should all help to reduce the potential for stress during transportation.
If the destination you are relocating to is a considerable distance, where possible, it can be useful to choose a non-stop flight. In doing so, you can significantly reduce the potential for stress.
Of course, if you have yet to choose your destination and you have a choice in the matter, you may wish to consider relocating to a country that doesn’t require a long-haul flight.