Dogs and cats are common pets to see traveling with their humans. But what about birds? Is it possible to enjoy an RV lifestyle while traveling with a bird? Can you actually fit a birdcage inside your vehicle? What about their needs and daily routines? These are just some of the things any bird owner should consider before taking off on their RV adventure with a pet bird in tow.
This begs the question:
Can you fully travel and live in an RV with a pet bird? The simple answer is yes. Birds are delicate creatures and may have specific needs, but nothing too extravagant that a bird owner cannot provide. Domestic birds mainly require space, social interactions, and routine.
In this article, we break down everything you need to know before RV traveling with birds. We will cover the basics for you, including vet concerns, lifestyle adjustments, and travel preparations for your pet bird. You will also learn the types of birds that make great travel buddies, and some bird traits you need to consider for a sustainable RV lifestyle. By the end of this article, you can take home a checklist for your bird’s travel essentials, as well as some notes on common do’s and don’ts to keep your pet bird safe and happy.
The Basics: Do These 6 Things First
Before you go plan your next big trip, prepare these six things for your pet bird first:
Just like any other domestic pets, your bird would need occasional vet visits. Before you even take off with your RV adventure, it is best to visit your vet to get some grooming done. You can also talk about potential health concerns and traveling issues. You should ask for a current health certificate for your pet bird, in case you would need this for paperwork and inspection. You may also ask to be referred to a vet in your destination town to receive you if anything happens to your bird during your trip.
Include it in your travel checklist to prepare a pet pouch that contains your bird’s health certificate, current photo, vet records, and leg band and microchip numbers, if these apply.
Get the Bird Accustomed to RV Life
Birds may love roaming around and socializing with people, but they still need time to be accustomed to the RV lifestyle. The same goes for their traveling cage. Try driving to nearby destinations just to let them get a feel of the outdoors while on the road, and see how it fits them. This will give you an idea of if your pet bird suits the traveling lifestyle.
Prepare Sheltered Space
Birds do not deal well with drafts or wind, so you might want to save up the best-sheltered portion of the RV for your bird. This allows sufficient space for their cage while ensuring their comfort and safety at all levels throughout your road travels.
Birds overheat easily, which is why you must maintain a good temperature in your RV at all times. For the best temperature, set your AC between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Always check on your bird and replenish their water feeder to keep them hydrated. Also, avoid fumes that can be dangerous to your bird’s breathing.
Outside the RV, make sure you do not expose them to too much sun and keep them away from the window where they can either be exposed to strong winds, cold temperatures, or excessive heat.
Pre-Purchase Staple Foods and Treats
Bird seeds are difficult to get by on the road, especially if you got yourself a picky eater. Before you set off on your RV adventures, stock up on your pet bird’s staple food and treats. At least make sure you have enough until you can get back and repurchase.
Laws and Regulations
Rules exist for pets just as they do for humans. Always check state regulations, restrictions, and quarantine laws as you choose your next destinations. This saves you the hassle of traveling to the area only to be turned away. Getting into trouble, you might get a fine or worse, your pet bird might be impounded. You would want to avoid this disaster if you want to keep traveling with your pet. Always be aware of laws in place for your safety, convenience, and peace of mind.
Typical Bird Sightings in RVs
We typically see dogs and cats traveling with their humans, but what about birds?
Birds can be separated into five main categories: extra small birds, small parrots, medium parrots, large parrots, and extra-large parrots.
Like other animals, each breed has its personality. With large birds, the common ones you would see in RV travels are amazon parrots, African grey parrots, triton cockatoo; and different types of macaws including blue and gold, severe, and scarlet.
Specific Considerations for Large Birds
Most large birds love being the center of attention. This is something to consider for your RV lifestyle. That said, they require plenty of toys, social interactions, and food to keep them busy and sticking to their routine.
Larger breeds typically have birds that are highly intelligent creatures that can perform tricks, mimic sounds, solve puzzles, and entertain people with their antics. They make great companions if you enjoy energetic and talkative pets.
Just as much, they can be quite loud and cocky, especially when bored. So you must stick to their routine as much as possible to avoid ruckus.
Below are summaries of each large bird type, and some traits to consider if you plan on taking them with you to your RV lifestyle:
Blue and Gold Macaw
You can tell these are common pet birds mainly from their appearance. They are known to have a big attitude and love for attention. They can produce loud ear-piercing sounds when startled or scared, but they can also do so for other reasons.
These can be categorized as medium-sized parrots that are known for being the “life of the party”. They are bold and comical. Just like the blue and gold macaw, they love being the center of attention.
Severe macaws are the largest of the mini macaws. They pack in lots of personalities, enabling them to show off tricks and speech abilities. They are quite easy-going and are curious creatures. They love puzzles and games, which might mean packing lots of toys for you.
Loud but loyal is how you can describe a triton cockatoo. They are pretty committed to their humans but can have a loud voice and have a preference for screaming, something to ponder on before taking them with you on your RV adventures.
This bird type is known to be sassy, energetic, and highly intelligent. For the same reason, they also make great escape artists, so make sure you have a spacious cage with sturdy locks.
African Grey Parrot
African grey parrots may be the least colorful in the bunch, but what they lack in color they make up for with extreme intelligence, tagging them as “Einsteins of the Bird World.” They can talk and mimic sounds as well.
Specific Considerations for Smaller Birds
Compared with large parrots, smaller parrots are more reserved. But they require cages as big as large parrots since most of their types can be housed together. It is important to consider the space when setting up the cage in your RV. Avoid settling for small cages, which can impact the birds’ standard of living.
Below are summaries of each small bird type, and some traits to consider if you plan on taking them with you to your RV lifestyle:
These are the most popular companion birds among the bunch. They have a colorful appearance that can easily catch anyone’s attention. They are curious as much as they can be feisty. And they are known to be talented whistlers. They are playful and flighty, so they require a large cage with plenty of toys in it. Outside their cage, cockatiels are big snugglers. If they have a love language, these are physical touch and quality time. They also love to forage, so feel free to leave treats at the bottom of their cage.
Love birds are known for their strong pair bonds. You can house a couple of pairs in one cage, which is why they require a large space. Unbeknownst to many, they are strong chewers, so choose toys that are sturdy and sustainable for long term use without causing hazards.
Budgies are known to be “beginner birds”. They are easy to care for, making them great pets if you are just starting to explore domestic birds. They are ground feeders and love to feed on seeds and plants. They are quite playful and have the same talking ability as large parrots.
Caged birds are typically hands-off pets. Unlike large and small parrots, they enjoy their own space and minimize social interactions as much as possible. The two common types of caged birds are finches and canaries.
Finches are quiet creatures. They do not talk and prefer hands to be off of them. On a good note, they can perform aerial antics. They prefer to stay in their cage as they are not snugglers. It is best to get them a large cage since they would be spending most of their time there. Overall, finches are ideal if you want a pet bird but with fewer demands than parrots.
The Canaries look reserved and sweet, mainly because of their small size, but they are actually territorial when it comes to their space. Each canary requires its own cage. On the other hand, they are great singers and can belt out lovely tunes during your travels.
Bird Travel Essentials
Listed are the travel essentials your bird needs to make transitioning to RV lifestyle easier:
This is where they will spend most of their time while you are traveling. Ensure it has sufficient space for them to move around in, perch, and sleep comfortably.
Plastic pet carrier
This comes handy for moving your pet bird outside the RV in case of emergencies.
Birds need plenty of toys to get by. They are social creatures so the toys make up for the times you are driving and cannot accommodate them. You can also be creative and teach them new tricks as you travel.
Invest in high quality and spill-proof feeders for the food and water, so you can do less cleaning up while you travel.
First aid kit
This can include but are not limited to these items: scissors, medical tape (not waterproof), popsicle sticks (for splinting), latex gloves, magnifying glass, clean towels, tweezers, penlight, betadine solution, cotton swab and balls, gauze pads, gauze rolls, antiseptic wipes, and styptic pen.
Birds need bathing once a week to wash off debris and maintain skin moisture. Large birds need to be misted with spray while smaller birds can settle for birdbaths where they can wash unsupervised.
This has multiple uses. Birds perch to preen, bathe, rest, sleep and feed. You will need a good portable perch for when you stopover for breaks or when you finally reach your destination and allow your bird to be free from the cage.
Your bird will have a mess like other domestic pets. Have the cleaning supplies ready. This should include paper towels, wet wipes, and spot removers.
This allows them to stretch out during travel breaks under minimal supervision. A good harness should fit your bird snugly – nothing too loose or too tight.
Parrot Calming Formula, Calming Herbs
Even birds get motion sickness. Opt for calming herbs or formula to ease their discomfort.
You can use this for cleaning, for drying, and even for wrapping your pet bird during treatments or on-the-road first aid.
Traveling with Birds: Rule of Thumb
Traveling in an RV is one thing, traveling in an RV with a bird is another. Listed are the general do’s and don’ts when it comes to traveling with a bird in tow:
- Birds are delicate creatures. They thrive in healthy atmospheres especially since they have extremely sensitive respiratory systems that make them more prone to harmful inhalations including cigarette smoke and chemicals such as cleaners and disinfectants. That said, ensure proper ventilation and good air quality in your RV at all times.
- Birds are also sensitive to loud sounds. Road trips are not complete with an awesome playlist, but make sure you keep the music at a room volume.
- Drafts and winds are just two of a bird’s worst outdoor enemies, thus keep their cage at a sheltered corner of your vehicle and keep them away from windows that can be easily opened.
- With the kind of food they consume, it would be extremely difficult for birds to eat inside a moving vehicle. It is best to make stopovers when they are feeding. This also allows you time to walk around and stretch your legs. Birds are grazers, so be sure to make frequent stops.
- Contrary to popular belief, birds can be a handful during travels. So it is important that you stick to your bird’s routine like you would at home, including exercising twice a day daily, feeding them occasionally, and letting them enjoy their toys before they wreak havoc in your RV.
- If your pet bird is a little inexperienced on road trips, it is best to keep it in a carrier for a more comfortable space until it adapts to the environment and eventually feels safe and comfortable enough in a cage while inside a moving vehicle.
- Most new bird owners make the mistake of relying too much on the cage for the bird’s safety. However, safety precautions should be taken into account more when traveling.
- You should never put the cage in the front seat of the RV while traveling. Should there be an accident, the impact of the airbag could be so strong that it could instantly kill the bird when it hits the cage. At best, strap in the cage to make sure it does not move around as you drive. If your pet has not adapted to this lifestyle yet, keep it in the carrier for the meantime.
- You should also avoid sudden temperature extremes that can significantly impact your pet bird’s health. Birds overheat easily, so you must keep the temperature well controlled.
Traveling with birds is a doable lifestyle, provided you know how to care for them in transit. Birds are more delicate than most people are aware of, so their daily routine is high on the list. This includes a spacious cage, frequent feeding, socializing, playing with toys, and getting enough breaks from long drives.
Birds are also highly sensitive to changing temperatures – something to be considered before hitting the roads, and which proves to be the main concern among bird owners. Provided all these travel essentials are met, birds make a great companion on long road trips, thus letting you enjoy a sustainable RV lifestyle with them.