Parrots are fun to have around. These pets are good companies, and they are a joy to train. If you have a pet parrot, then most likely, you want to be around your pet all the time, and don’t worry because the feeling is mutual. Parrots are social animals and would love to be with their owners anywhere.
But the problem with pet parrots is that you can’t take them outdoors unless you are inside an outdoor greenhouse or a large outdoor enclosure. Your pet may suddenly escape, and if it’s not trained, it will likely fly away for good. But luckily, there’s a way to take your pet parrot outdoors or travel with your pet safely and securely, and this is by using a parrot carrier.
What is a parrot carrier?
A parrot carrier is designed like a bag, a carrying cage, where your pet can stay and wait until you are at your destination. A parrot carrier usually has a body made of the durable screen with breathing holes along the sides and with accessories like a perch and pockets to keep your pet’s travel necessities.
Parrot carriers are available in different sizes, shapes, and designs. You can find a small, easy to handle carrier for a small bird or parrot species and larger bird carriers for larger feathered pets like parrots and macaws.
A parrot carrier is a temporary place to keep your pet. It is not designed as a long-term home. Some are also designed for air travel considering most airline companies have specific rules regarding traveling with pets and pet birds.
Take note that even with a very expensive and highly-specialized parrot carrier, your pet may still resist staying in one. It may shriek, scream, or, worse, bite you if it does not want to be kept inside a pet carrier. The key is to train your pet parrot to trust the pet carrier and to help it get used to being inside the carrier for a longer time.
How to use a parrot carrier properly
Before you go ahead and buy a pet carrier for your pet, you need to understand a few basic techniques about using a parrot carrier. Here are the most important ones.
- If you have more parrots or birds, have a pet carrier for each one. If you overlook this tip, your pets will only end up fighting inside the carrier. This is a very small enclosure, and they can’t stand being with even with one companion.
- Parrot carriers come with varying handles. Choose one that’s right for you. Handles are for quick trips like from your home to the car, from the car to the vet. The handle must be secure, durable, and easy to clean. Shoulder straps and backpack straps are for travels that can take longer. The straps should be adjustable and should also be easy to clean. You can have your hands free when you use this kind of parrot carrier.
Carriers with no handles should not be used. You’ll only end up holding your pet against you, and you won’t be able to use your hands.
- Use a lock and key for a pet carrier, especially for longer travels. Don’t overlook the risks of your pet escaping.
- Feed your bird an hour before placing it inside the carrier.
- Take some toys, food, and water with you when you travel with your pet.
- Longer travels inside the carrier can stress your pet, so take it out once in a while. Long road trips can strain your pet, and just like people, they can also get bored.
- Place the parrot carrier on the passenger seat of your car and use the seatbelt or other attachments to keep it safe. Never place your pet inside the trunk of your vehicle.
- If you’re commuting, be sure to read the rules of traveling with pets, especially pet birds.
How to make your parrot get used to riding a pet carrier?
Now we come to the most-awaited part. You have finally purchased a pet carrier that fits your pet, and you’re ready to train your pet. As with all activities that you do with your pet parrot, you must first help it learn how to trust the carrier. Your goal is to take it out of the cage, place it inside the carrier, and to move with the carrier. You can achieve this in slow and sure steps. Patience is the key.
Parrots won’t easily try something new unless it has properly checked the thing out. So before you take your pet out of the cage, place the carrier near the cage. Let it fly next to it, smell it, and nibble at it. Your pet is still inside its cage, so it won’t be able to destroy the carrier yet.
After a day, take your pet out of the cage and use treats to make a trail from the cage door to the carrier. The carrier must be open, so your pet can check the food inside. Don’t hold your pet, and don’t force it to do anything as well. Let this become as natural as possible as if he has discovered this “new” cage all by himself.
This time, your pet will likely nibble, scratch, and smell the carrier very intently. It will become interested because there’s food inside as well. You may also place some of his familiar toys inside. Allow your pet to climb in, be comfortable, and leave the carrier alone. Do this again the next day.
On day three, take your pet out and give it some treats as soon as it perches on your hand. Pat it and reassure it and then slowly place it inside the carrier without closing it. You’ll see that it will not hesitate to stay inside as long as there are food and some toys.
The next day, do the same thing, but after you place it inside, gently close the zipper or the carrier door. Your pet will surely feel relaxed and won’t find this unusual, but if you sense some tension, don’t pursue it. Just let it get used to it for another more day.
Prepare the carrier
When your pet is finally used to being inside the carrier for a long time, it’s now a good time to take it for a test run. Prepare the carrier as you would when you travel with it. Place the perch and prepare some food, water, and toys and place these inside the pockets.
Most good carriers have removable bases that you can clean after your trip. Clean the carrier’s base and make sure that it is dry before placing it back inside the bag. Place some newspapers or paper towels inside. You may also place the substrate or bedding that your pet is used to so it can help relax him.
Place your pet in
Do the same routine as you did before. Reward your pet after it has climbed on your hand and then place some food inside the carrier. Lift your pet and gently let it perch inside the carrier. If it is used to the feel of the carrier, it won’t mind being inside for a longer period.
Now slowly and gently close the door and take the handle and move with the cage. Your pet will likely become startled, but don’t worry. Just go and take your pet outdoors. You don’t have to go anywhere; just let him feel the air, sunshine, and the happy feeling of being outdoors!
You can take it out in the garden or walk outside in your neighborhood just to show your bird there’s nothing to it. But regularly check for its behavior. It will likely stay quiet and enjoy the show.
Move and go
If your pet has no qualms about your short trip, give it a treat by letting it ride with you in your car. Use a safety harness or buckle him up with the car seat. Most good parrot carriers can be attached to the passenger side of the car for safety.
Start the engine and see if your pet is okay with it. If you sense that there’s something wrong, cancel your trip. You can try again tomorrow. But if he’s okay with it, drive away. You can go to the park, to the mall or the supermarket. As you move along, talk to your pet, give it some treats or water. Let him out once in a while, but make sure that it’s safe and won’t fly away.
Time to take your pet out
As all good things have to end, it’s the first day out has to end too. Place the carrier on a flat surface and remove the other contents first like food, water bottle, and toys. Open the door of the carrier slowly and let your pet out. Don’t place it inside the cage just yet, but gently place it near the carrier. When it has relaxed, take it inside its cage. Give it some food and water and check for unusual behaviors.
Reward, reward, reward
The way to help your pet become adjusted to the parrot carrier is by giving it positive reinforcement and treats. Take note that not all treats are healthy; it’s your responsibility to give your pets healthy treats. Go for organic fruits and vegetables cut into small bite-sized pieces or use pasta or bread.
Aside from treats, you may also use reassuring and encouraging words. Pat your parrot on the head or stroke it’s back. You can also give it its favorite chew toy to play with after traveling inside the parrot carrier.
Getting him ready for longer travels
A trip to the mall, the park or the supermarket is nothing compared to a long airplane flight or a road trip. A longer trip means your pet has to stay inside its carrier for many hours, and this can lead to serious stress if this trip is not properly planned out.
So before you take your pet for a long trip, consider if you need to travel with it. Will it just be better if you leave your pet at home where it would be more comfortable? There are some better options rather than stressing your pet out.
- Leave it home with your family or to people he’s familiar with. It’s better to teach a family member or a friend to care for your pet than tending to a stressed bird!
- Take it to a pet sitter or let a pet sitter come to your home. This is another good option, and you won’t have to bother anyone to care for your pet.
- Take your pet to a bird hotel and spa; it will thank you for it!