Thinking about moving, but not sure how to safely transport your chicken flock? I’m sharing all of the details about how to move with chickens in this post.
How to move with chickens (& how to safely transport your chicken flock!)
Since sharing the details about our decision to move, I’ve received a few questions about the logistics of moving with farm animals. I was originally planning to write one blog post detailing how to move with chickens AND goats, but I decided that it might be a bit easier to separate the two topics into two blog posts. First up? How to move with chickens (and how to safely transport chickens!)
Whether you have a large farm or a few backyard chickens in the city, you might have considered the idea of moving. The process started out fun – you’re browsing through Redfin and Zillow until you find the perfect house and property. And then… you panic. How can I ever move when I have chickens?! Don’t worry, friends. With a little planning, you can pack up your beloved chickens and bring them to your new digs. But first – you’ll need to know how to safely transport your chicken flock.
Set up the new coop
Assuming that you aren’t able to bring your old chicken coop with you to the new house, you’ll need to set up your new coop. When learning how to move with chickens, it can be a bit chaotic. The last thing you want to be doing is putting the finishing touches on your new coop AFTER already moving your chickens from the original coop.
Remember, moving is stressful for your flock, so be sure that your coop is safe and appropriate for your chickens. Your chicken coop should be the following:
- Large enough to happily accommodate your flock
- Stocked with clean water, feed, and grit
- Clean bedding (we use pine shavings)
- Comfortable and clean nesting boxes (we just bought these nesting boxes!)
- Include roosts
- Protect against weather elements
Although the above list is not exhaustive, it includes the basic items that absolutely must be completed prior to moving with chickens.
Choose the right time
When deciding how to safety transport your chicken flock, be sure to choose the right time of the day. Unless you’re particularly fond of chasing chickens around your farm (or backyard!), choose to transport your flock when they’re locked in the coop. More than likely, the best timing is first thing in the morning or after they’ve gone to bed for the night.
We have an automatic coop door, so we originally planned to turn off the automatic door timer and gather up our girls first thing in the morning. Well, our automatic coop door accidentally opened at sunrise, so we decided to wait until the evening hours. (Similar automatic coop door is here!) Our poor girls were very frightened to be removed from the coop, especially after they were settled in for the night. If possible, I would recommend initiating the move during the daylight hours.
Be prepared with necessary supplies
When figuring out how to move with chickens, you’ll want to be prepared with the necessary supplies on hand. Basic supplies are below:
- Large plastic container OR
- Large dog crate
- Mealworm Munchies
- Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
- Cricket Crunchies
How to safely transport your chicken flock – THE STEPS
First and foremost, I would highly recommend having another adult help with the transport process, especially if you have a large flock.!
Step 1: TRANSFER TO CONTAINER: Assuming that all chickens are in the coop, have person #1 open the coop door while person #2 holds the container directly outside the coop door. Next, have person #1 pick up each chicken one by one and place her in the container. If using a plastic tub, gently cover the tub with the lid so she is unable to fly out. If using a dog crate, close the door to prevent escaping. Repeat the process until all chickens are in the container.
STEP 2: TREATS: More than likely, you’ll have at least a few birds that are extremely hesitant about the move, which will result in person #1 chasing chickens around the coop while person #2 struggles to hold a large container filled with almost 20 chickens. (Yes, I was person #2, and my arms feel tired just thinking about it.) Have some snacks on hand to help lure your chickens out, but it might not help much If you have extremely sassy birds.
STEP 3: TRANSFER TO VEHICLE & NEW COOP: Depending on the size of your flock, you can probably transport the container in the trunk of your vehicle. Once you arrive at the new property, your flock will act terrified and will avoid entering the new coop. Give them some time and encourage them to enter the new coop by offering snacks.
You may have a few girls slowly enter the new coop to eat the snacks, while the remainder of your flock refuses to move from the container. If necessary, person #1 will need to pick up each bird one by one while person #2 holds the container.
(PLASTIC CONTAINER DISCLAIMER)
Obviously, please make sure that your chickens have ample air flow and and the lid is NOT airtight. You can cut small holes in the lid to ensure that your flock has fresh air circulating through. Also, depending on the size of your flock and the length of travel time, you might need to use multiple containers to ensure that your girls are happy and safe. (Seeing as we were moving less than 5 minutes away, we felt comfortable knowing that our girls didn’t have much room in the container. We obviously didn’t provide food or water for a 5 minute drive, but please be sure to provide food, water, bedding, etc if you’re traveling a longer distance. ) Please use common sense and respect the health and safety of your animals 🙂
Your entire flock is officially in the new coop – congrats! You successfully figured out how to move with chickens, but don’t forget to coop train your flock. The coop is their new home, but seeing as they don’t know that yet, you’ll need to teach them.
For at least one week, keep your entire flock in the coop 24/7. By spending 24/7 in the new coop, your girls will start to feel more comfortable. They’ll start using the new roosting bars at night and they’ll learn where the new nesting boxes are located. The coop is their “safe place”, so they’ll be more likely to independently enter the coop every evening once you start letting them out to pasture during the day. Unless you enjoy hunting for eggs or begging chickens to go to bed every night, then coop train!
Stay tuned for details about how to move with goats next!