We want to make sure our Seramas arrive at their destination safe and sound and try to make their journey as “pleasant” as possible…you know, considering that they’re in a box for 1-2 days, sometimes 3!
We start by laying down a nice thick mat of paper towels to absorb liquids from their poop and give them something for their feet to grip (as opposed to bare cardboard). We originally used wood shavings in the past but wood shavings aren’t that absorbent and we didn’t like a bird being in a confined space with all of that wood dust…same thing goes for hay (dust and allergens). We also put a sheet of wax paper underneath the paper towels as a moisture barrier, so to speak.To keep them hydrated, we include a jell-o cup filled with chopped watermelon, which is taped to the corner of the box. We also “pre-moisten” our chickens by giving them watermelon in their run about half an hour before picking them up so they can peck at it. Then before they go in the box we take an eye dropper and give them a little watermelon juice by hand so we know for sure that they’ve had something to drink.
The downside to watermelon is that due to it’s high sugar content, it tends to ferment pretty quickly in summer temperatures. We also put in a slice of cucumber this time for variety, as well as for it’s high water content. It has been suggested to try orange slices for them to peck at which we plan on introducing to our flock to see how they like that. If they like oranges/tangerines/tangelos, then we may switch over to that for our next round of shipping.
What you don’t see in the photo below is that we also sprinkle some dry food in the corner so they have something solid to eat, although the main concern is making sure they have something to drink.
Some people don’t put any food or water in with their chickens and there is the theory that birds don’t eat or drink during shipping because they’re in a dark place. But, we always suspected they do and after having our birds sent back to us last week, we can honestly say that they did eat and drink in the 16 hours that they were in the box, which makes us feel better knowing they had something “to nosh on” during their trip! 🙂