Not many animals look forward to a trip to the vet's office, but getting your cockatiel there doesn't have to be a hassle. All you have to do is familiarize him with his traveling cage and make sure it's secure in your vehicle, and you're good to go.
Introduce your cockatiel to his traveling cage long before you actually need to use it -- ideally, a few weeks ahead of time. Don't schedule a vet appointment for tomorrow if your bird has never seen his traveling cage, as you'll have a very unhappy cockatiel on your hands. Place the cage inside his room and shut the door, and when he comes out for playtime, encourage him to explore the new, smaller cage. Place some toys and treats inside the cage to encourage him to go inside and make himself comfortable, and keep doing this on a daily basis. You may even close him inside for a few minutes at a time to introduce the concept of being confined to this small area. The cage only needs to be big enough for him to stand inside comfortably.
Repeat this process on the day of your veterinary appointment, closing the door behind your bird when he enters the cage. While you may place some seed or spray millet inside the cage to lure him in, don't fill it with toys or swinging perches, which could get jostled around during transportation.
Take your bird to the car and place him in the passenger seat. If you are traveling with a partner, she can hold the cage steady while you drive. If not, you must secure the cage in the seat. If the seat belt doesn't provide much stability, wrap a few bungee cords around the cage and the back of the seat to secure it in place.
- If traveling in cold weather, swaddle the cage with blankets or fleece to insulate it and keep your bird warm.
- Line the bottom of the traveling cage with shredded newspaper to make cleanup easier later.
- Point the car's air vents away from the cage, and don't drive with the windows down.
- Make sure you secure the cage door with clips or bungie cords before you travel to prevent it from opening and allowing your bird to escape.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.