Ask Lafeber


February 9, 2021

International Shipping

I have 4 Zebra Finches, happy, in good health, and very well hand tamed. I love these babies very much, but sadly I am moving. I am moving from Germany to the USA, and would like to take them with me. I found many pet transport companys that will be able to ship the birds for me, and make sure along their journey that they will be checked on by a vet. I am asking if this is even a good idea. I know they are small and I understand it will be stressful for them. And if I can take them, how would it effect their behavior afterwards. If I can not take them sadly I do have someone here to take them, but would be nervous that this person will not give them the care/love for them as much as I do. Would it be easier to just give them up, would they survive the journey? Do you have any reccomdations? Thank you!


Hi Erik,

I do understand this is a very difficult decision. The birds will have to undergo a quarantine period upon entry to the USA. I will give you a link to the website with this information. Finches used to be imported from other countries to the USA for decades. But there was a high mortality rate. This was largely due to the high numbers of birds, the shipping time and containers, and the time spent in a quarantine station. It is different for bringing pet birds, so do look into it so you know all of your options. There are professional pet transporters as you have mentioned, who can assist you. I am not sure of the policies, but if the birds cannot be carried in the airplane cabin with you or the transporter, I would be concerned about them being transported in the baggage compartment. They do have to be in a different area with climate control, but animals can be lost, or transported on an open cart where they get exposed to the weather, or the container can get dropped. So if they can be hand carried – which means they are always with a person – then they can travel well and arrive healthy. There are always risks with travel, so you will have to really think about this and decide what is best for them. I know that hand tame finches are common in Europe and Asia, and many have been brought with their owners to the USA. So it can be done. Please read everything on the APHIS/USDA web site and this should help you with your decision.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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