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UK Removals: How to Relocate with a Pet Bird in 5 Easy Steps

posted: 20/02/2021

Relocating with a pet bird is easier than it sounds, you just need to follow a few rules, and everything will be fine. Remember your animal can feel when you are stressed out, and it mimics your emotions. To help you, our London moving professionals have created a detailed guide containing all you need to know about relocating with a pet bird.

1. How to Choose the Right Way to Transport Your Bird?

Depending on where you are headed, you have 3 options you can pick from when it comes to means of transportation – by car, by air and using a pet transportation service. Now let’s explore each option and see its pros and cons.

pet parrot

1.1 Relocating by Car

  • Pros:
    • You can monitor your animal during the entire trip, making sure it has everything it needs.
    • It is easy to feed it and offer it fresh treats like vegetables and fruits.
    • The pet can keep itself occupied by observing through the window. Most birds feel well during car rides for that same reason.
  • Cons:
    • Birds are sensitive to temperature, and you need to make sure your heating is switched on to a comfortable degree at all times. This could be a bit challenging if you are relocating long-distance in winter as you have to heat the vehicle each time before you place your pet inside.
    • If you are moving during summer and the sun is shining, you have to purchase glare guards. They will both block the light and will help with temperature control in the car.
    • You are limited when picking places to stay during travel to your new home. Some hotels and motels don’t allow pets and you have to be prepared to pay a little bit more for bird-friendly accommodation.

1.2 Travelling by Air

  • Pros:
    • Depending on the airline, you can take your bird in the cabin with you and ensure it travels as comfortably as possible.
    • The trip is faster and altho anxious your bird won’t be subjected to continuous stress factors for a long period.
    • You can look after your pet, providing it with snacks and entertainment.
  • Cons:
    • If your pet has to travel as “live animal” cargo, it can get very stressed. The noises and unfamiliar environment can seriously harm the fragile health of your bird.
    • Some airports insist you remove your bird from the carrier, so the cage gets inspected. This is yet another situation that puts your pet at risk of escaping and getting lost.
    • Not all airlines accept birds. You need to search for the ones that offer the best travel conditions.

1.3 Relying on Specialised Pet Movers

  • Pros:
    • The vans are equipped with protective harnesses ensuring the safety of your bird. The cabins are temperature-controlled which means the heat and the humidity will be kept at comfortable levels.
    • The staff is trained to take care of your pet while on the road.
    • Your animal will be picked from your home and delivered to your new place. You don’t have to do anything. Some companies can even offer you a pet carrier in advance, so your animal can get used to it, and you don’t have to buy an additional cage.
  • Cons:
    • You won’t be with your pet which can make the animal stressed, and have a negative effect on its wellbeing.
    • Sometimes there are delays in shipment and delivery which means your bird will be on the road longer than needed.
    • Pet transportation services can be quite expensive, especially if you are moving long-distance.

When choosing the ruth means of transportation, you need to answer 3 valuable questions:

  • What is my budget, and how much can I afford to spend over it if necessary? Sometimes there are hidden expenses like additional airport fees, parking and tool taxes for the transportation company.
  • Which is the less-stressful way to move my pet? Each animal is different, some birds don’t mind being transported by air while others can travel only with you in your car.
  • How long will the whole relocation process take? For long-distance removals, it is best to travel with your bird, this way, both the animal, and you will feel more at ease about the change.

Different bird species have different travel requirements, so make sure you speak to an avian professional before you pack your moving boxes. Here are some travel tips regarding the most common breeds, you might find helpful.

tips for relocating with pet birds

2. Move Your Bird Cage and Pet Safely in 5 Easy Steps

As long as you have a plan and stick to it, you can relocate fairly easy. Our professional London movers have developed a 5-step process to help you deal with all the uncertainties and minimise the stress for your animal.

Step 1: Preparations

Before the moving date, you have to do a lot of things. First, let’s look at what kind of supplies you will need to get:

  • Transportation carrier – There are many types you can choose from depending on how big your pet is. Most bird owners prefer using backpack carriers while moving companies rely on the more sturdy plastic crates.
  • Small cage – It is a suitable alternative used to transport small species of birds like finches or canaries. Do not use the cage for larger animals like macaws or cockatoos.
  • Portable perch – You would need one or two, which you have to put in the transportation crate. As a rule of thumb, your bird needs to be able to get its tows ¾ of the way around the portable perch to be comfortable.
  • A large towel or sheet – If you are staying overnight at a hotel you will need it to cover the floor to protect the carpeting.
  • Window shades for your car – Direct sunlight can irritate your pets, so you need to cover the back windows.
  • A thin linen cloth – Light and moving objects can get your bird anxious, so get a clean piece of fabric to cover at least partially the transportation carrier.
  • Bird treats – Who doesn’t love snacks during a car ride?
  • Medicine – Consider making a small first aid kit and put inside bandages, medicine and other supplies. If your bird falls or bumps on the side of the crate, you have to be ready to help it.
  • Bottled water – Make sure to stack on the water as most birds will need lots of fluids during the relocation, especially if you are moving in summer.
  • A bird harness – Some bird owners trim the feathers of their pets to prevent escaping. However, we urge you not to do that and instead use a bird harness. Try it a couple of times before the moving date, so your animal can get comfortable.

Now, it’s time to take care of your pet and prepare it for the upcoming changes:

  • pet parrot at homeGo to the vet and make sure your bird is healthy and feels well. Consider purchasing some vitamins or other supplements that will help it coop with the stress of the home moving.
  • If you decide to travel by air, your bird needs to get used to the travel cage. So let it explore it every day for at least a week, so the animal could get comfortable with it. This will reduce its stress levels and lower the chance of incidents.
  • We recommend you take short trips around the neighbourhood in your car. This way, your bird will familiarise itself with the sounds and vibrations.
  • Monitor the behaviour of your animal for concerning signs such as vomiting, feather picking, streaming or bumping on the sides of the carrier. If the bird exhibits some of these signs, seek professional help right away.

If this is your first time moving with your bird, spend some time researching online and familiarising yourself with different techniques for calming down your pet. We recommend this article by Lisa Bono, as she is “an associate certified parrot behaviour consultant, specialising in the African grey parrots” and has years of experience relocating with her flock.

Step 2: Move Your Bird to Its Transport Cage

There are two ways to do that, depending on how your bird is trained. You can either let the pet climb on your hand and gently place it in the carrier or allow your bird to get inside on its own. Do the latter by positioning the entrance of the carrier in front of the open door of the cage. This way, your bird will hop inside when it feels ready.
Disclaimer: Remember, introduce the transportation carrier to your bird at least a week before the actual moving date.

Step 3: Pack Your Large Bird Cage

Big cages with lots of perches and toys need to be disassembled. Here is what you have to do:

  • Remove all movable parts.
  • Clean both the cage and all of the accessories.
  • Make sure everything is dry when packing it.
  • Place the toys and accessories in a different box and wrap everything, so it won’t get damaged during transportation.
  • Wrap the cage in plastic and/or bubble wrap.
  • Put the box with the accessories and the cage last in the truck, so they will be the first thing the house movers will unload once at your new place.

Disclaimer: Remember to put the important documents in a zip-lock bag and take them with you. Certificates, passports, medical records, all need to be labelled and placed with your other family documents. If you feel overwhelmed about how to best pack your belongings you can check our complete house moving guide, where you can find detailed instructions and cool professional tips.

petting a parrot at home

Step 4: Transportation Care

If you are using the services of a transportation company, you don’t have to do much. Same goes for air travel. However, if you choose to move with your animal in the car, there are some safety rules you have to consider:

  • Do not place your bird in the front seat, as in case of an accident, it can be smashed by the airbags.
  • Secure the transportation carrier with the seat belts.
  • Be very careful when opening your bird’s cage while on the road. The animal can get startled and try to escape. Consider using a bird harness for the times you need to get it out of its carrier.
  • When making a stop at a pet-friendly hotel, be very careful while releasing your bird. Place an old sheet or towel on the ground, to protect the carpet from “accidents.”

Step 5: Settling in the New Home

It will be great if you have chosen the spot for your birdcage before the relocation. This way, the moment you enter the house, you can go straight to assembling the cage and releasing your animal. If this is not possible, try to follow these rules when searching for the ideal place for the cage:

  • Birds are social animals and need to feel a part of a flock. In this sense, the cage must be placed somewhere with a partial view of the family activities. However, your animal needs to have its privacy when it feels overwhelmed by everything that is going around it.
  • Avoid spots with an open draft, near windows or air vents.
  • Pick a place where you can easily control the temperature and humidity.

Remember to keep it away from household hazards like ceiling fans, fireplaces, stoves, etc.
Once settled in, you have to closely monitor your pet for the first month. Try to slip back to your usual feeding, cleaning and playing routine. If your bird starts to exhibit signs of stress mainly plucking its feathers, you must seek immediate help from a licenced vet. If this turns into a habit, it can be detrimental for your animal.

parrot at a London home

3. UK Rules and Regulation for International Removals with a Pet Bird

Due to the recent departure of the UK from the European Union, there is a significant change in pet travel. If you want to take your bird outside of England, Scotland or Wales, you need to get an export health certificate (EHC). You can see all the necessary documents and apply for the certificate here. If you have any questions, there are hotlines you can use to contact a government representative and ask them:

  • For the UK: APHA – 03000 200 301
  • For Northern Ireland: DAERA – 02877 442 060

If you are moving to the UK, we advise you to construct your local British council and require information. Some bird species may be classified as exotic, and a different set of rules apply to them. Regularly check the official UK government page and look for updates, as the information is constantly being renewed. Brexit, in combination with the coronavirus crisis, has made a senior impact resulting in constant changes in the regulations.
NB! The majority of the information you will stumble upon on the web is outdated. Trust only the official government sites as they reflect the recent changes.

Now, tell us, how was your house removal? Did you face any challenges while relocating with your feathered friend? Write about your experience in the comment section below. And if you have more than one type of animal, you may find our guides on how to relocate with a vivarium or house move with an aquarium quite helpful.


Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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