How to Prepare your Parrot for a Road Trip
Road trips with parrots don't have to be stressful. There's a trick to making the whole matter no big deal. It starts with you. Your companion will decide where they need to be emotionally by looking to you for your emotional level. So, relax. Then consider these ideas to your preparation and all will be well.
Familiar is fun.
- If your trip is down the road yet, pun intended, take the time to introduce the idea of traveling as fun to your parrot. Set up their travel cage where you will have it for the real trip and take random short drives. Exposure to the feel, sounds and relativity of the experience will go a long way for your parrot's comfort.
- Include their most familiar and favorite things in that travel cage as well. Foods, drinks, toys and objects that tell them all is well.
- Leave the travel cage out all the time. Make it just another fun place to be at home as well.
- Familiarity is your friend with this project. Are you traveling with more than one parrot, in more than one traveling cage? Do they have separate cages at home as well? Make sure to place their traveling cages next to each other in the correct position. Whoever was on the right side at home, stays on the right side in the vehicle. Familiar sight lines to familiar things goes a long way for comfort.
Travel safe. Travel mindful.
Travel with cages centered in the backseat for two reasons.
- Front seat traveling is dangerous. If for any reason you are in an accident, the airbag deploying against their cage will kill them. A dark thought, but much like babies in carriers, the backseat is best for safety.
- Center back controls the amount of visual input from the windows. Some parrots love that view, some are overwhelmed and some just get car sick. By placing travel cages center back, you can increase or decrease window views with a simple towel folded over the cage sides or not. You always want your parrot to be able to see you, though.
Tips for a motion sickness and parrots.
A car sick bird is stressful for all involved. If through trial rides you find your parrot gets a bit car sick, here's what to do.
- Limit their view outside to forward only.
- Try a little ginger in their water, or ginger tea. Peppermint is also a good herbal. Which both stand to reason, we humans use them when we have upset stomachs.
- Keeping crops only half filled for the drive helps. A good feeding time in the morning is an hour before leaving, and then again in the evening at the hotel.
- If you are driving straight through to your destination through a 24-hour cycle, try offering small snacks through the trip. Keeping their crop less full may help them feel better.
- Have your First Aid kit nearby. For quick access under duress.
Stops and safety.
- At gas stations when filling up, make sure to keep the doors closed due to fumes.
- If you have an internal air circulation system available (the cabin air is recycled through a filter rather than taken in through the hood) keep that on for the entire trip as well.
- If at all possible, never leave your parrot alone in the car. Both for their safety and for their stress. If you are traveling alone, setup the back seat so that seeing your parrot is very difficult to anyone outside.
- Additionally, during your practice road trips, get out of the car, tell your companion you'll be right back, close the door without a big bang and lock it. Then walk away from sight. Wait a minute and go back to the car, and announce, I'm back! Increase these tests to 5 minutes. Familiar words, actions, and results go a long way for comfort.
Music calms the soul. A Parrot Playlist can also be compiled early and played at home and during practice trips for the familiar comfort to be built. Label it; Road Trip Playlist.
And then back to you, again.
When on the highway, remember YOUR attitude plays a big part in the trip.
- When in heavy traffic or struggling with directions (or being lost). Breath, relax, and don't yell or get angry. Your parrot has no idea who's in trouble but will feel that stress.
- When you are stuck next to a big tractor trailer in traffic on the highway, that's a BIG shadow thing hanging over your car. Try to change lanes and alleviate that if you can. Not always possible, but controlling the sounds, shapes and sizes flying by your car helps for the long road ahead.
As with all new things, iterative introductions, familiarity, and your emotions will take care of the stress and concerns.