Everything You Need to Transport Chickens
Chicken owners love their broods. They build them incredible coops, give them the best feed, protect them from predators, and when they move from one city to another, they consider bringing their chickens with them. Most of those owners change their minds and start a new flock. But for the Loquist family, that wasn’t an option. Even when they faced a 3,300-mile road trip with two of their hens. Thanks to their insights and some tips from the Coastal crew, this is everything you’ll need to transport your chickens.
The Loquist Family Love Their Chickens
A few years back, Jeff and Sara Loquist decided to make the move from Louisiana to Oregon. Sara planned to finish up her PhD in landscape architecture at the University of Oregon. Since Jeff had the ability to work remote, he was able to bring his internet marketing expertise to Eugene with SiteTuners, a company known internationally for conversion rate optimization at sitetuners.com.
They weren’t moving alone. Their daughter Madelyn would be joining them on their journey. As would two of the family’s favorite hens, CHEEP-3PO (Cheep Cheep), and Luce (Lucy) Skybawker, a chicken Madelyn found wandering the streets outside their home and later rescued.
“When we told Madelyn we were moving to Oregon, her biggest concern was the chickens,” Sara said, showing just how much their daughter loves animals.
The family found new homes for most of their chickens, but Madelyn’s favorites went north to Iowa to stay with family until they settled in Oregon.
“Chickens are social creatures,” Sara added. “They need a friend. That’s why Lucy and Cheep Cheep went to Iowa together.”
The two hens would enjoy Midwest cornfields while the Loquist family searched for a new home in Oregon. What they found was perfect for them and their chickens. The property included an old dog run attached to a shed that was later divided and used as a coop and lawn tool storage.
“When this was complete, we picked up Lucy and Cheep in Iowa along with the last load of things from our time in Louisiana in a moving truck,” Madelyn wrote in a recount of the adventure.
While transporting a pair of hens sounds easy on paper, the cross-country trek took a bit of planning.
“Essentially, they rode in a dog crate in-between the two front seats of the moving van,” Sara explained, adding that they bought some portable, small dog pen fencing for the trip.
“We camped our way across the country,” Sara said. “The girls would get to move around a bit in the dog run and we would get a break from the smell. The next morning, we’d get back into the moving truck and go.”
It took the family 10 days to get from Louisiana to Oregon, with a pitstop in Iowa to pick up their chickens.
“We’d clean their cage every day,” Jeff said. “By the time we stopped at night, it would get stinky in the cab. Even with the windows cracked, a fan that blew on them, and the air-conditioning on to keep them cool.”
The caring couple used a waterer reserved for gerbils to keep their hens well-hydrated. They also added fresh straw to the bottom of the dog crate and stopped every so often to give them food and scratch.
Over the miles they formed an unbreakable bond with the two chickens prized most by their daughter. Today, Lucy and Cheep are the foundation for their whole brood, with all of them named after Star Wars characters.
The family’s current flock, which produces enough eggs for the Loquist family and several surrounding neighbors, includes Luce Skybawker, CHEEP-3PO, Jabba the Cluck, Gogurt (named after Grogu), Ova-Fett, Obi-Wan Henobi, and Mace Wingdu. You can keep up with the whole brood on Instagram @the.flock.strikes.back.
When asked if they’d make the trip for two chickens again, Jeff quickly answered, “Nope!. But I also said no the first time. When your wife and daughter ask you to do something, you do it.”
If anyone, besides his family, wants chicken-moving services, Jeff wants it made clear that he is not available. In the meantime, the family is enjoying their chickens and the daily memories they create.
How to Transport Your Chickens
Moving chickens from one farm or property to another takes a little planning and careful consideration, whether you’re going across town or across the country. The items you’ll need include:
- Large dog crate. This keeps the chickens contained and out of harm’s way while you are driving. Be sure there is enough ventilation in the crate and that the door stays locked until you open it.
- Feeder and waterer
- Ice to cool down their water
- Doggie urine pads to contain messes
- Thin blanket to lay over the crate if it gets cold or breezy
- Small amount of straw to add to the bottom of the crate
- Lavender to help calm an anxious chicken
- Portable fencing or dog-run. Lay out the fencing to give your chickens some room to roam during pitstops or overnight stays.
- Light music. Some of your flock will need soothing, light music. Stay away from anything with a fast, driving beat.
- Working A/C and heater. Be sure the heater and A/C in the vehicle work. Deepening on the time of year, you’ll use these to keep your chickens comfortable. Keep the inside of the vehicle (and your chickens) around 60º F.
Coastal tip: separate chickens who might cause problems from other hens. In other words, keep friends with friends. And transport anxious hens with older chickens. This can calm nerves and make your drive much more pleasant.
Signs of Distress
If possible, stop every six hours to check on your birds. If they’re panting (from heat or anxiety), holding out their wings (from too much heat), or are not taking in food or water, it may be time to stop for a while and give them a rest.
Coastal Carries Everything Your Chickens Need
That includes feed, medication, scratch, coops, heaters, and more. We even carry chicks at different times of the year. Stop by today and go home with everything your country needs to keep your chickens (and rooster) happy and healthy.