Some of our Feathered ones may experience car sickness when traveling. It is important for us to ease them into traveling so that it can be a pleasurable experience for everyone.
First you want to make sure your Angels are familiar with being placed in their carrier. You also want to make sure that the carriers are roomy, so they don’t feel too enclosed. This is especially true for larger parrots. I always sit carriers up beside play areas, and place a few toys and treats inside. I make sure my babies get very familiar with being placed into the carriers and are comfortable with spending time in them. Some nights I have them sleep in their travel cages, this is a really great way for them to become totally comfortable with their carriers.
Once they are comfortable being in their carriers, we then make a few trips out to the car and get them set up in there. Also for the safety of your feathered companion you should insure the car is at a comfortable temperature before you put your feathered on inside, parrots can suffer heat stroke from a hot car. Parrots do not have sweat glands and can not cool their bodies by perspiring. You also want to make sure that they are not in a draft from the A/C or open windows. Always secure their carriers in the back seat, and where they can see you. You may want to place a light sheet over the top and two sides. This can help ease the motion sickness that some experience. On the first couple of times in the car, I just sit with them and talk to them and make sure they are comfortable. After doing this a couple of different times, then we turn the car on so that they can get use to the sound and feel of a running car. Again I sit with them and chat and make sure they understand that everything is ok. If you already have a good trusting relationship with your birds, then this is accepted well.
When driving I do play some soft music, sing and chat with my Angels. They always have a few treats, water and a couple of soft toys in their carriers. Try to make each experience as pleasant as possible for them. Stress is never good for Parrots and we need to minimize this as much as possible for them. A relaxed Parrot will sing, chat and play during their car trip. A stressed Parrot may throw up, sit on the bottom of the cage, scream or shake. We make sure that our Angels have rides to places other than just the Vet. This way they do not just associate the carrier with the Vet. Make each trip a bit longer and when returning home, make sure they are given special praise and treats! This helps them associate car trips with pleasurable memories.
You should never allow your Feathered ones to ride freely in a car. If they should become startled for any reason and attempt to fly, this could cause serious or even fatal accidents. There are many things that can suddenly frighten them, like a passing bird, large truck going by, speeding car or even a fly on the window. These Angels are precious and we must protect them as much as we possibly can.
Even with all these precautions, some Angels are still prone to car sickness. Ginger can also help ease car sickness. Give a slice of fresh ginger each day for a couple of days before traveling. Or add fresh ginger to their water for a few days before your scheduled trip. This works wonders and is totally safe for parrots. Never offer any motion sickness medicines that are not prescribed by your Avian Vet first.
If you have multiple birds, place the carriers so that they can clearly see their flock mate. It helps for the nervous traveller to know they are not alone.
Travelling in heat and it’s going to be a LONG drive? Get the gel type refreezeable packets and place them wrapped in towels under the carrier. These keep the interior of the carriers cooler, thereby reducing stress to the bird. Have the air conditioner running, but keep a front window cracked a bit and a rear window on the opposite side of the car for constant air circulation.This also helps those that have motion sickness.
Cold weather traveling? Use one of those disposable heat pads for the back. Apply them under the carrier, thus keeping the interior just a bit warmer and more comfortable for the birds. Once again, a window cracked that is not directly over the bird keeps the air moving, thus reducing the potential of car sickness.
It is so important to make sure that your birds are familiar with traveling, so that in a case of an emergency they do not have the added stress and fear of being in the car.
Placing your parrot in front of a window in full sun can quickly cause overheating. Parrots will die if left in cars or camper-vans without adequate ventilation.
Deborah and Lyne Paulsen
Copyright © 2011 Deborah FeatheredAngels
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