Moving 600 Miles & How: PART 3
Moving yourself and your animals! Your house is finally emptied, your boxes are all packed up, and moving day is upon us. We are in the final leg of our moving marathon. The last thing to do: get to your new home! Moving Yourself: Do you know how they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first before trying to help others? Well, I like to think of this in a similar light. Make sure YOU are ready to go before trying to think of all the ways you’re going to support your family and fur babies during this trek. When making a long-distance road trip to your new homestead, here are five basic things you’ll want to remember!
1. Bring your essentials with you in the car. If everything you own is currently being moved to your new destination, leave out some things to help you survive without your entire life for at least 7 days.
7 pairs of socks and underwear/7 outfit changes
Your vitamins and electrolytes (don’t throw self-care out of the window just because you’re busy!)
A facemask (this is a funny one, but it’s a long drive and the AC in the car dries your skin out)
Phone charger/laptop charger
Pen & notepad (think confirmation numbers, new account information, important moving details you may need to reference during your trip)
2. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Save yourself precious time on your trip and pre-plan your meals. Take ten minutes, and pre-plan your meals. If you are planning on getting food on the road (which is convenient and basically a road trip right of passage), by planning ahead you’ll be able to choose exactly where to stop, which stops will be right off the highway and not 7 miles away from your main route, and of course you won’t be stuck in the middle of nowhere, hungry, looking for somewhere to eat.
3. Bring snacks! It sounds really obvious and silly to say out loud, but bring snacks. When you’re in the middle of a move and your head is spinning in thirty different directions it's hard to remember the basics. So, take a half hour, go to trader joes and get your favorite snacks to make your road trip a little more enjoyable.
4. Get gas the night before. When you wake up on moving day and you’re all packed up ready to go, you hit the road…and 20 minutes later your gas light comes on. Ughh talk about a bummer.
5. Pack your car up the night before your trip. I don’t mean at 10pm go outside and start cleaning your car out, and bring a bag or two…I mean pack that sh*t like you mean it!!! Clean out your car (give it a little detail), organize it, and pack it as neatly as possible to try and maximize your space. We purchased a roof bag off Amazon for about $50 and it fit our air mattress, and three duffle bags filled with our essentials for when we arrived. When the morning was here, all I had to do was throw my snacks in the car, load up the animals and buckle my seat belt!
BONUS TIP: Go to bed early, get some beauty rest, and in the morning plan to get your favorite coffee to start your day off right. Iced coffee with two pumps white mocha anyone? Moving Animals: The Basics
Have enough animal food for the duration of the trip and for when you arrive at your destination. I brought enough food for four days, and also had a Chewy delivery scheduled to arrive at my new destination within a day of my arrival. Going without food is not an option, so plan ahead! You’ll need water & food bowls. I highly recommend the collapsible ones.
Bring water bottles designated for your animals. You don’t want to be running into rest stop bathrooms filling up water bowls, because first off gross, and secondly having these supplies on hand will be a time and stress saver for you. A case of water or two should do the trick, depending on how many animals you’re moving.
Moving your animals securely is key. If your dog is trained to sit in the backseat, buckled in-great!! If he’s going to try and jump into the driver's seat every 20 minutes while you’re on the highway, no, that won’t do. Think of your safety, others, and of course your dogs. Invest in a seatbelt harness!! Ask yourself, what do I need to make this trip safe and secure for my animals?
Cats must be moved in a carrier, they will feel nestled in, safe and appreciate the dark/quiet space.
Bring a few extra towels. They’re animals after all and on long road trips you never know when an accident is going to happen. I brought a few old towels that I didn’t mind if they wound up in the garbage, and yes, I used them.
Make frequent stops and check in. Don’t assume because you can go five hours without stopping to pee that your dog can too. Make frequent stops, do water/food checks, and stretch those legs!
Doing a ten-hour road trip with my backyard flock and bearded dragon, there were a few golden nuggets that I learned that I am so grateful for. Below we’ll dive into the details on how to move them successfully! The Chicken Express: I moved my chickens in dog crates with a buddy. I paired the chickens I knew would do well together, and separated the ones lower on the pecking order away from our top girls. In confined spaces this seemed necessary to avoid any excessive bullying, and it honestly worked really well!! Here’s a surefire formula to moving chickens in the least stressful way possible:
Ray & Rosie being troopers!
Move them with a buddy. Being with their flock makes them feel comfortable, safe and over all will result in a calmer move. I’ve seen my chickens stressed, and during our drive was not one of those times.
Place some fresh bedding/nesting chips in their moving crate. This is a familiar smell and sensation that will help your chickens settle in.
Mix dried mealworms in with their bedding. Chickens as I’m sure you know are foragers and the second they realize, “Hey, I found a bug in here!”, they will make it their mission to scour every bit of their bedding to find every single one. Mid-way through the drive I added a bunch more to keep the hunt going. This kept them quiet and busy for a good portion of the trip.
Snacks! Chickens LOVE a good snack and this is the perfect time to spoil them. We chose cucumbers for their hydrating qualities, which we knew they could use a bit extra of, and corn on the cob to keep them busy and really make them work for their treat. We doled this out sparsely as we noticed the chickens getting antsy, and it settled them right down.
Water! They will need fresh water throughout the entire trip. We found water bowls that could be attached to the crates so they had access to water 100% of the time, and it was easy to refill with water bottles.
Extra bedding. It’s not a secret that chickens poop, and it’s also not a surprise that we didn’t want to smell chicken poop our entire road trip down south. In tow we had a bag full of fresh bedding, during stops we easily could add a fresh layer on top and not smell a thing. I told myself that I was going to bring plastic bags and clean out their bedding throughout the trip, but for me that was just too much work in the middle of everything–and supplying fresh bedding at the time really did the trick!
Your chickens may or may not lay eggs. Sometimes when chickens are stressed, they simply will not lay an egg that day. Some of my chickens laid eggs, and some didn’t.
Before I loaded up the girls for their journey, I placed a tarp down over my trunk and flattened back seats. Chickens are not tidy creatures, and I was searching for easy clean up. The tarp was a life saver!! Of course, the chickens spent the trip rooting for bugs, kicking up bedding, and laying eggs; the tarp was on my side!
Your buy list before the move: 1-2 bags of dried mealworms Cucumbers cut into strips- I purchased one for every chicken Whole corn on the cobs -I purchased one for every chicken Fresh bedding Food Water Food + Water bowls Dog crates Tarp (check out Harbor Freight for the cheapest prices) *Pro-tip: Don’t forget to crack a window or two every now and then for some fresh air! If the weather doesn’t allow for that, simply switch your AC to fresh air mode! Upon arrival they were ready to get out of their crates and were itching to get into the green grass that was inches away from them!! At last, it was free ranging time! My Mom was a blessing during this transition, helping watch them as they got used to their new back yard. Since this was a new location, I felt more comfortable with someone keeping an eye on them making sure no one wondered too far. Unfortunately bringing their custom built chicken coop wasn't an option, we secured them in a temporary one from Tractor Supply that we had ordered in advance. It took about 75 minutes to assemble, but was worth the convenience for a quick move in.
The Bearded Dragon Shuttle: Traveling with a bearded dragon was totally different than traveling with the chickens, and for us we decided to have them in separate cars.
We are going to break down the Bearded Dragon Shuttle into 10 easy steps for a stress-free move! Step 1:
The night before your dragons move, have them sleep inside their carrier. IF POSSIBLE! The inside of our home was about 70 degrees and I knew this was a safe temperature for my dragon to reach overnight. If you have a bearded dragon then you know, when it's bedtime, it’s bedtime, and it doesn’t really matter where they are! This made the transition seamless at 6am when we had to get our dragon in the car, he was already in his carrier ready to go–and would probably sleep for another three hours.
Arrow taking a nap--he'll sleep anywhere!
To limit stimulation while helping keep our dragon calm and collected, we kept the sides of his carrier covered so he could only see out of the front. Believe it or not, bearded dragons can get car sick and this step helps!
Once their normal wake up & warm up time rolls around–for us this was 9am. Time to help your dragon warm up. Gently open up the carrier with slow movements to not startle your dragon, placing a few hand warmers inside under the base of the carrier (or towel if you put one down). Make sure the hand warmers are only on half of the carrier so your dragon can choose to rest on top of them or move away to the cool side of the carrier to regulate their temperature. Do place them directly underneath your dragon without a barrier in-between, these are capable of causing burns.
Food! Your bearded dragon does NOT need any food on this trip! Since they rely on consistent heat to keep their digestive tract going, you do not want to risk their temperature being to cool to process their food. It is safer to fast during this period (don't worry, bearded dragons can go days with out food!).
Step 5: Water. Again, you do NOT need to provide water for your bearded dragon during the trip. To ensure your dragon is hydrated a day or two before you can offer water on a dropper (a few drops will do it), and that’s all they will need to make it to their new location.
Be prepared for poop. Remember those extra towels I told you about, get ready to use ‘em. Our dragon LOVED the hand warmers and he spent the entire morning warming up his little belly on them, which resulted in a massive poop in his carrier. Another reason why it’s always nice to put down some extra “flooring” in your carriers for cases like these. We simply removed the old towel, tossed it in the garbage, put a new towel down, and in less than five minutes were back on the road.
Be mindful of the temperature. Avoid having the AC on 60 degrees blowing directly on your dragons' face. Sure, have the air on but redirect vents facing your dragon or close them. If you have a bearded dragon, then you know they are sensitive to the cold.
Leave them in the carrier. I know it's tempting to take them out and have them on your shoulder the entire time, but it can be a lot of added stress for them. By limiting their exposure over your trip, the quicker they will adjust to their new home.
They may go back to sleep, and that’s ok. Their carrier may be a bit darker than what they are used to, or you may see them go to the cool side of the carrier earlier in the day. That’s ok! They are safe, hydrated, and maybe a little bored...but OK overall!!
Get them back in their tank! As soon as you arrive, prioritize getting them moved in their tank with their lamps set up. After we arrived and took a quick pee break, the first thing we did was get our dragon moved back in his tank. He hid for three days, and then was back to his normal self! I cannot stress this enough, do not attempt to move your bearded dragon in their tank. It’s extremely dangerous and not recommended. If you’re still feeling unsure call your vet and have a little pre-move chat! They will help ease any concerns or answer any questions you may have! Congratulations on your big move! Wishing you light & love, Planet Homestead p.s. Still have questions on moving long distance? Let's chat! Drop a comment or message us! Share your best moving tips in the comments below!!