Making Your Move Easy on Your Parrots
Moving is a stressful time in the lives of our birds. Having just completed moving the "gang" into a new house, I thought I would share some of the things that helped our move go smoothly. The feathered crew (Alex and Zeke, African Greys and April, Umbrella Cockatoo) have settled in nicely and things returned to normal quickly. Granted, the move was to a nearby city and we were not on the road in the U-Haul for more than an hour, but I believe preparing the birds had everything to do with their reduced stress level and smooth transition.
I also want to mention that there is the coolest service for moving called PODS (Portable On Demand Storage). I had it delivered to my old house the weekend before the actual move. This allowed me to pack up all my non-essentials at my leisure, clear out the house and cut down on the stress and chaos of the actual moving day. They took the "POD" away and stored it at their warehouse until the day I scheduled it to be delivered to my new house. I only had to rent a U-Haul for a few left over things and the bird cages.
Everything but a blanket, pillow, alarm clock, bird supplies and cages (that didn't get into the POD) were packed up in the U-Haul the night before the actual move. Renting the U-Haul for an extra day was really worth it! All I had to do on moving day was gather up a few things, place the birds in the carriers, load up the cages and away we went to our new home. My "POD" was delivered to my house later that afternoon and I had as much time as I wanted to unload it. It arrived on a Friday and I scheduled the POD pickup for the following Tuesday.
The reason I recommend a service like PODS is that it relieved so much stress. I was calm, the birds were calm and I could focus on making them more comfortable instead of running around loading things up at the last minute. I will never move without PODS again - it was that good!
The move actually took place in several stages.
Stage 1 - Keep the birds Informed
House hunting is always both exciting and exhausting. But, when I found a house I really liked and the offer was accepted, I showed the flyer with the picture of the new house to the birds and told them all about it. I told them how nice it would be for them to have a bigger room with nice big windows and everything. Yes, I really did this! They may not understand all the words, but they get the fact that something is up.
When my old house sold and the paperwork was progressing along nicely, I started packing. I made sure they saw what I was doing and I would talk about the moving day and how exciting it would be.
Stage 2 - Prepare the birds
A few days before the actual move, I cleared out my master bedroom and moved the birds out of their normal "bird room" and into the master bedroom. It was only across the hall, and not in totally unfamiliar surroundings. But, it conveyed the message to them loud and clear that change was coming. I made the move in the morning so they would have time to get used to the new room before bedtime.
After their first night in the master bedroom, I introduced the idea of travel. They have all been in carriers at one time or another, but I didn't have three carriers, I only had one. I went and bought a new one and borrowed another to make three. Three days before moving day, I placed each carrier in front of the cage of the bird that would be using that particular carrier. I placed them there all set up and ready to go with the doors open.
After they stated at the carriers for a few hours, I took each parrot and placed them in the carrier briefly. Just long enough to close the door, tell them how good they were and take them out again. The next day I kept them in there a little bit longer, about 5 to 10 minutes or so. The third day, I placed each into their carrier for about a half an hour. I also picked them up in it and walked around the house. All the while telling them how good they were and about moving day the next morning.
Stage 3 - Moving Day
I woke up early. We were supposed to arrive at our new house at 8 a.m. because the phone company, cable and internet company, etc. were arriving that day to set things up. And you know them, they are so exact on the appointment times, "Sometime between 8 a.m. and noon" was about as precise as it got. I needed my phone and internet hooked up pronto, of course, what's an online parrot supply store going to do without the online part and a phone?
I talked to the birds for a little bit and told them this was it. Moving day was here! Then I put them in their carriers and started loading up their cages. (They have big cages.) They all went in their carriers without a fuss. I put them by the front door so they could watch their cages being loaded and telling them how exciting their new home was going to be. The last thing I did was put them all on the front seat of the U-Haul with me and drove off to our new house.
Along the way, I picked up my helper for the day who would help me get their big cages up the steps to the new house. April actually greeted her with a big "Hi!" She wasn't stressing at all! Upon arrival at the new house, the first thing we did was to bring the birds inside and put them in their new room. Of course, I was talking to them the whole time. Then, we unloaded cages and one by one they were placed inside. I prepared their food and water like I always do and tried to keep things as normal as possible for them. All that was completed and the birds completely set back up in their cages before anything else was done.
Stage 4 - New Digs
I kept things as normal as possible for them. After a day or two they were pretty darn comfortable. That's when I started being a tour guide. Each was given a tour of a different room. I went from room to room, one a day or a whole house tour. It depended on the bird's comfort level. I made sure to point out the windows to them and have them touch it so they know not to fly into it. Things returned to normal quickly and they really love their new space!
I really believe that it went so smoothly because each of the steps prepared them for the next. I was shocked at how quickly they adjusted to life at the new house. They were even back to talking within hours of the move. April even talked IN THE U-HAUL. I hope this has been helpful to anyone considering a move in the near future!
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