The Best Guide on How to Transport Chickens Safely


All these tips will teach you how to transport chickens.

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Transporting chickens safely and comfortably is crucial to ensure their well-being.

white hens

Proper care and a little planning will help you in a big move or longer distances when moving chickens. 

Table of Contents how to transport chickens

Here will provide the best way to help transport full-grown chickens and young chickens.

Types of containers for Chicken transportation 

When moving chickens, suitable containers include:

  • Ventilated Crates: Ventilated crates have openings for airflow, ensuring proper ventilation during the journey. They come in various sizes to accommodate different flock sizes. A horse trailer and dog cages have enough air and good ventilation to be proper poultry crates. 
  • Pet Carriers: A dog crate, cat carriers, or sturdy carrier with secure latching lids can be used for smaller numbers of chickens or bantams.
  • Cardboard Boxes: While not ideal for long trips, they can work for short journeys and are disposable.
cardboard box opened
  • Wooden Coops: For larger groups, portable wooden coops with handles are an option, especially if the chickens are moved within a property.
  • Poultry Carrier: A poultry carrier can be suitable for transporting chicks or small groups within a vehicle, offering good airflow.

Ensure any container used is well-suited to the specific needs of your chickens and provides adequate ventilation, security, and comfort during transit.

How to Transport Chickens 

dog cage

Preparing for Transport 

1.    Check Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding chicken transport, especially if you are moving them over long distances.

2.    Transport Crates: Invest in sturdy, well-ventilated chicken crates or carriers. Ensure they are cleaned and disinfected before use.

3.    Timing: Plan transport during mild weather to avoid extreme heat or cold.

4.    Food and Water: Provide access to food and water 2-3 hours before transport. Use spill-proof containers to prevent messes.

5.    Health Check: Inspect chickens for any signs of illness, injury, or stress. Do not transport sick or injured birds.

Loading Chickens 

1.    Gentle Handling: Approach chickens calmly and handle them gently to reduce stress.

2.    Secure Crates: Place enough bedding material (straw or shavings) at the bottom of the crates to keep chickens comfortable.

3.    Adequate Space: Ensure there’s enough room for each chicken to stand and lie down comfortably without overcrowding.

4.    Grouping: Transport chickens in compatible groups. Avoid mixing birds that may fight or injure each other.

5.    Secure Latches: Double-check crate latches to prevent accidental escapes during transport.

chickens in cages

Transporting Chickens

1.    Temperature Control: Maintain a comfortable temperature within the transport vehicle. Use fans or heaters if necessary. Avoid direct sunlight or drafts.

2.    Ventilation: Ensure proper airflow while preventing drafts. Crates should have adequate ventilation holes.

3.    Avoid Sudden Stops: Drive carefully to minimize sudden stops, which can cause injuries to the chickens.

4.    Monitor During Transport: Periodically check on the chickens to ensure their well-being. Watch for signs of distress or overheating.

5.    Secure Crates: Keep crates secure to prevent shifting during transport. Use straps or ropes if needed.

farm chickens

Unloading Chickens 

1.    Gentle Handling: Handle chickens carefully when unloading to minimize stress.

2.    Water and Food: Provide access to water and food immediately upon unloading.

3.    Shelter: If chickens are being moved to a new coop or location, ensure their new shelter is prepared and secure before unloading.

4.    Observation: Monitor the chickens closely after transport to ensure they are settling in well and recovering from any stress.

Tips for Long-Distance Transport 

long road with trees around

1.    Breaks: Plan rest stops during a long trip to provide water, and food, and check on the chickens.

2.    Proper Restraint: Secure crates or carriers to prevent shifting during transportation.

3.    Temperature Control: Use insulated carriers or heating pads during cold weather and provide shade during hot weather.

4.    Documentation: Keep records of the journey, including departure and arrival times, any issues encountered, and the condition of the chickens.

5.    Emergency Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit and tools for any necessary on-the-road repairs.

6.    Trained Personnel: Ensure anyone handling chickens during transport is trained in poultry care and handling.

By following these guidelines, you can transport chickens safely and reduce stress, ensuring their well-being during the journey. 

Always prioritize the health and comfort of your feathered friends when moving them from one location to another.

a hand feeding hens

How to Transport Chickens- Simple Tips

Give them something solid to stand on

  • Keep it dark
  • Move smoothly 
  • Decrease loud noises 
  • Move quickly 
  • Make sure the chicken has fresh air and good airflow
  • Make air holes if using a cardboard box
  • Lookout for signs of stress
  • Try to make travel times short
  • Fresh water is helpful to have for long trips. 
farm hens

How to Transport Chickens- Problems to Avoid 

  • Overcrowding: Ensure there’s enough space in transport crates to prevent stress and injuries.
  • Rough handling: Handle chickens gently to avoid injury and stress.
  • Temperature extremes: Keep chickens in a well-ventilated area with suitable temperature, avoiding extreme heat or cold.
  • Inadequate food and water: Provide food and water during the journey to prevent dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Long journeys without breaks: If the trip is lengthy, schedule regular breaks for rest, food, and water.
  • Mixing unfamiliar birds: This can lead to aggression and injuries; segregate unfamiliar chickens.
  • Improper ventilation: Ensure proper airflow to prevent suffocation and heat stress.
  • Inadequate security: Secure transport crates to prevent escapes and injuries.

How to Move Chickens by Car

a car driving on a highway

Moving chickens by car can be a smooth and safe process with the right planning and precautions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Prepare the Transport Crate: Use a sturdy, well-ventilated crate or pet carrier with a secure lid. Line it with bedding like straw or wood shavings for comfort and to absorb waste.
  • Gather Supplies: Equip yourself with essentials like water containers, feed, first-aid kit, and a blanket to cover the crate if necessary.
  • Choose the Right Time: Plan the trip during mild weather conditions to avoid extreme temperatures. Avoid traveling during the hottest part of the day.
  • Load the Chickens: Gently place the chickens in the crate, ensuring they have enough space but aren’t overcrowded. Avoid mixing unfamiliar birds.
  • Secure the Crate: Ensure the crate is securely closed and won’t open during transit. Ventilation is crucial, but make sure the chickens can’t escape.
  • Provide Food and Water: Attach containers for food and water inside the crate. Use spill-proof options to prevent a mess.
  • Drive Smoothly: Accelerate and brake gently to avoid jostling the chickens. Take corners cautiously to prevent the crate from tipping.
  • Monitor Temperature: Keep the car well-ventilated and maintain a comfortable temperature inside for the chickens. Avoid drafts. Get a Traceable Thermometer!
  • Take Breaks: For longer journeys, stop periodically to check on the chickens, offer water, and ensure they’re comfortable.
  • Arrival: Upon reaching your destination, carefully unload the chickens into their new coop or pen. Give them time to adjust to their new surroundings.

By following these steps, you can ensure a safe and stress-free journey for your chickens when moving them by car.

baby chicks eating feed

Moving Chicks and Baby Chicks

  • Transporting chicks and baby chickens requires special care. 
  • Use a cardboard box with holes for ventilation or a plastic container with a secure lid. 
  • Line it with clean, soft bedding like paper towels or straw to prevent slipping and injuries. 
  • Maintain a warm, stable temperature inside, ideally around 95°F (35°C) for the first week, decreasing by 5°F (2.5°C) per week until they are fully feathered. 
  • Offer them access to water and a bit of chick feed during the journey. 
  • Avoid overcrowding, rough handling, and sudden movements. 
  • Keep their journey as short and stress-free as possible, ensuring their safety and well-being.
baby chicks

How big Should poultry crates be?

  • Individual Chick Transport Carrier: These are small and typically measure around 12 inches (30 cm) in length, 8 inches (20 cm) in width, and 8 inches (20 cm) in height.
  • Standard Poultry Crate: Standard crates for adult chickens can vary but are often around 24 inches (61 cm) in length, 18 inches (46 cm) in width, and 12 inches (30 cm) in height.
  • Large Poultry Crates: For larger quantities or bigger birds, crates can be larger, with dimensions of 32 inches (81 cm) in length, 24 inches (61 cm) in width, and 16 inches (41 cm) in height.


Can poultry stress from transportation kill chickens?

Yes, stress levels from transportation can potentially lead to the death of chickens.

It can weaken their immune systems, making them more susceptible to diseases.

 Stress can also cause overheating, dehydration, and panic, which may result in injury or even death if not managed carefully during the transportation process.

a car driving on a long road

Can you take chickens across state lines?

Yes, you can generally transport chickens across state lines in the United States.

However, regulations may vary between states, so it’s crucial to check specific requirements and restrictions related to poultry transport, including health certificates and disease control measures, before crossing state lines.

chicken feed in bags

Do chickens need food and water while being moved?

Yes, chickens need access to food and water during transportation. Depriving them of sustenance can lead to dehydration and stress.

Ensure secure containers that minimize spillage and allow easy access for chickens to eat and drink while on the move.

I hope all these helpful tips help you move small numbers of birds, meat birds, single-use bird transport, or a flock of backyard chickens. 

More great chicken posts below.

50 Ways on How to Feed Chickens Without Buying Feed

30 Amazing Small Chicken Breeds for your Backyard flock

What breed of chicken lays white eggs? ( Here are 20 Amazing Breeds that Do!)


how to transport chickens

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