chicken road trip

Road Trip with Chicken Pets during COVID

Meet Bubs & Soapy -
Two Pekin Bantam chickens that went on a lifetime adventure amid a worldwide pandemic

2020 has been a pretty tough year for most of us. People have lost their jobs, families have been separated and some even faced the tragic event of losing a beloved family member due to COVID-19. While everyone has their very own story to tell, we’d like to share this very special chook story by two lovely members of our EggSellent Community with you.

Meet Claire and Glenn who lost their jobs during COVID and decided to go on a road trip through beautiful Queensland to find a new home for themselves and their cute pets Bubs & Soapy. In this article you’ll find out what challenges these travelers had to face throughout their 12,000km road trip, what places they visited and where they have found their new home.

Table of Contents


On 17th August 2020, we packed our life into a converted box trailer and got our 2 pekin bantams ready to start a new chapter in our lives. Yes that’s right, we had decided to travel with 2 of our gorgeous feathered babies. Some of you may say ‘Why?’ and others may love the idea and want to know more. Let me take you back to the end of March 2020, when Covid-19 hit worldwide. My husband and I were living our dream, working and living off the grid in Cape Tribulation, QLD. We were in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest, surrounded by the most beautiful views, wildlife and fauna anyone could dream of. We were due to sign a contract to buy our house, situated on almost 9 acres of Rainforest. We were very blessed to be where we were.

Unfortunately, the bank withdrew the contract the day we were to sign and the company I worked for, went into liquidation. 5 weeks later, my husband was made redundant. Luckily, the liquidation company asked me to stay on for 10 hours a week, to help them with the necessary proceedings. We decided to buy an old box trailer and convert it into a camper trailer, so we could travel until we found suitable work. Whilst I worked my 10 hours a week, Glenn (the hubby) started to work on building our forever home on wheels. The decision to travel was a hard one for me, as we had 24 chickens and I loved living in paradise. I didn’t want to leave any of my babies or the amazing place I called home. I didn’t want to leave unless I had at least 1 of my babies with me, so we agreed to take 2…. 1 each. With that in mind, the husband had another task of building a safe and secure travel home for our 2 babies.

Why Chickens as a pet?

Glenn and I are both animal lovers, yet I am allergic to anything with fur. I’m also asthmatic, so an allergic reaction will cause me to have an asthma attack if it catches me unaware. When Glenn wanted to have chickens, I informed him that I was also allergic to feathers. From a very early age, I was tested for allergies. I’ve been allergic to a lot of things for as long as I can remember, so I thought chickens would be ok as they wouldn’t be in the house or anywhere near me. Well… as an animal lover, I am my own worst enemy. I couldn’t keep my hands of the 2 beauties we’d been given and to my surprise…. I never had a reaction. Not 1! That was it then… My addiction to chickens and feathers began to turn into an obsession ha haa. Unfortunately, I am still allergic to anything with fur, but that won’t stop me having a little cuddle before washing myself off. Which chickens do we take? Well I absolutely HAD to keep my 1st natural egg born baby, Bubble. This was the easy choice. The next decision was the hardest…. Who else do we take? We couldn’t take any of our boys with us, which broke my heart. As most of our chickens were home grown (from different blood lines), we had 9 roosters in total. Ha haaa. As they grew together, they all got on… Most of the time!

They were all Mummies boys and had daily snuggles and pruning sessions with me. I would stroke their heads and then check under the feathers for any mites etc. it was basically like a daily massage routine for them. They loved it. Whenever we opened their pen door in the morning, they would all run to our front door and await their turn. I miss them so very much. We set about finding all of our chicken’s new, respectable homes. All of our boys went to very good homes locally. They pretty much went to families with 4 to 6 hens, so our boys will be very well looked after. One of our Roosters Sinead (we thought he was a she at first oops) went to such a good home, that he was at the alter whilst his new Mummy was getting married. This made me so very happy to know that he is very much loved and has the most amazing forever home. All of our hens pretty much stayed in pairs, or was with one of our boys. Our 2nd choice was made by Glenn. Bubble had just created 4 new lives with her last hatch, so he picked out Soapy to keep with Bubble. We had no idea if she would be a girl or a boy, but that was who he chose. Later down the line, we found out Soapy is a hen and her siblings were all boys.

The Girls' Travel Home & Travel Preparations

This was made from an old A-Frame, which holds the corflute signage that you see outside most tourism places. It was welded together with similar sized box pipe and wrapped in steel wire. We also made a travel run from the steel wire and 4 large 1.5m pins to knock into the ground. This made the run easy to roll up and pack away. 2 weeks prior to travelling. Bubble and Soapy were rehomed into their new travel home. This was to ensure the girls were in familiar surroundings, once we started travelling. We made 2 sliding tracks in the back of our Landcruiser, close to the little window in the middle, just behind our seats. I wanted to ensure I could keep an eye on my girls and also so they could see where we were going. This also meant they were strapped inside the back of the Landcruiser and were safe from any outside elements. Cage safety! As we lived in the Rainforest, the cage was tested out unwillingly on our part. I was at work and the husband went out to run some errands for 15 minutes. Upon his return, a large Lace Monitor (A.K.A. Goanna) was trying to break into the cage to get to the girls. It was smashing its head on the wiring, as it couldn’t claw its way in. To cut a long story short, the Goanna left our place alive with our babies very shaken up. Bubble had even knocked the end of her beak off during the panic. She lost approximately 2mm of one side by the tip. She is now absolutely fine and has smoothed her beak down on some cuttlefish bone.

Once the trailer was complete, we packed our life into the trailer and a travel package for the girls too. We had plenty of food for them, sawdust for their nest/bed, small food and water containers for use whilst travelling and a health box for them should either of them get sick, plus a large golfing umbrella for the girls when it’s raining, or the sun is out. The umbrella was used daily to protect the girls from the sun. We even used a humidifier to cool the girls down when it got too hot for them and bought a little fan to put in the back of the Landcruiser for them, whilst we were travelling.

We're going on an adventure

The time had come for us to set off on our travels. A Facebook and Instagram page was set up for the girls, to allow others to see chickens CAN go travelling with you. @Bubs’n’Soapy #BubsnSoapy Bubble was 2.5 years old and Soapy was 3 months when we set off. We initially wanted to go across the NT and over to WA, as Glenn’s a skipper by trade. We were hoping to get work along the coast and find our new forever home. Due to border closures, we stayed within QLD. Every 3 to 4 hours, we would ensure we would stop and find somewhere to camp. We didn’t want the girls being cooped up all day, so if we did travel for longer than 4 hours, we would always pull over and allow the girls some time to have a little run around. They were so good, as they always stayed close by. We had pretty much been training Bubble for 4 months prior to leaving, to ensure she never wondered out of sight. From a baby, Bubble was taught to come to you at feeding time, by tapping the side of the food tin/box. When the girls had to come back into their home, we would tap their food box and they’d come running. However, on some occasions we couldn’t let them out as there were dogs around.

As Glenn is a very clever man, he made the base of their home removable… So if the girls couldn’t come out fully, we would pull their floor out to allow them to scratch, dig and dust bath. Along our travels, we mixed it up with some free camping and paid camping. Some places the girls could free range, yet a lot of the places we stayed at they couldn’t. On these occasions, we would section off our 3x3m Gazebo, so the girls could have a run around whilst we were there. When it was time to set off travelling again, the girls would jump into their bed as we slid their home into the back of the Cruiser. After 2 weeks, the girls started to jump out of their nest box and watch where we were going. They would sit up by the window to see what was happening outside. Naturally, Mummy would always check on them and make sure they had plenty of food and water and also to make sure they were happy and comfortable.

Do chickens lay eggs whilst travelling?

Three weeks into travelling, Bubble started to lay again, after having Soapy and her boys. This was a huge sign to say she was happy and then just like clockwork, every 2nd day she would lay an egg for us. Even when we were driving on severe corrugated roads, she would still lay for us. When Soapy turned 18 weeks old, she laid her very first egg! I was so happy and very surprised, as all of our other hens had started laying at 7 months and not 4.

What places did you go to?

In total we travelled approximately 12,000 k’s around QLD. We went through the tablelands and headed towards family in Yeppoon, Maryborough and Poona. Then we headed inland. At Mount Hay, Bubble had her first escape attempt by jumping on top of the roll out run. I remember sitting there having a drink, then thinking ‘where has Bubs gone?’. As I looked harder, I could see her little head pocking out from under the umbrella resting on the top of the run. I was in stitches and grabbed my phone for a quick video clip, before giving her a cuddle and putting her back. She’s so clever and cheeky. When we were at Birdsville, we decided to have a go at making it to the top of Big Red. It’s a high sand dune in the Simpson Desert.

Naturally, the girls came with us, as we would never leave them on their own. Once at the top, we naturally pulled their home out of the back of the cruiser, yet the girls refused to come out. They hate sand on their little feathery feet, so we put them back into the cruiser and ensured their fan was still on them. That fan was the best thing we installed for their comfort, especially when the days were reaching 48 degrees. We would put Ice cubes in their water throughout the day, during this heat. A lot of outback QLD doesn’t have any grass, which became a concern for us. We tried to buy a roll of turf from somewhere, yet no-one had any. We also tried to find a pet store that sold meal worms or grass hoppers, but no… We just got funny looks wherever we asked. We ended up stopping (safely) at roadsides where we saw grass, grabbed a pair of scissors and cut as much as we could find. Ha haa.

The crazy things you do for your babies. This happened on a few occasions. We would buy salad and veggies for ourselves, yet ended up buying extra for the girls too. They loved tinned tuna and sweetcorn, along with cucumber, lettuce and tomato. They’re not fans of cabbage or capsicum, so they’re fussy eaters like their Human Dad. From Birdsville, we headed north towards Karumba and eventually got up to the Tip in Cape York. Karumba had these Huge Locusts or giant grasshoppers everywhere. The girls would freak out at the size of them, so we helped them out by ensuring it was an easier feed for them… Well Daddy did. I can’t bring myself to do it. Bleugh.

Whilst at Cape York, we naturally HAD to go to the most Northern Point of the Continent and get our photo taken. However, it was a very hot day and there was no way we were going to carry the girls up there. So instead, they made it to the most Northern Beach on the continent in style… Whilst taking shade under a Palm Tree drinking Ice water, with fresh food and veggies, their own personal fan and cooling humidifier, whilst looking over a picturesque sandy beach, lined with a turquoise blue ocean. Heaven. I recon most humans would dream of being there right now. Ha haa. On the rare occasions we had any wifi (we’re on Optus and most places outback are Telstra), I would update Bubs’n’Soapy on Facebook and Instagram. We had people trying to follow where we were, as they wanted to meet the girls. This was amazing to hear.

We also made a lot of friends along the way and people taking pictures of the girls and their set up. Some people would bring their veggie scraps over for the girls too. A couple of the camp grounds we stayed at, had even heard about the girls and their travels, as when we would check in and mention we had 2 chickens, their responses were along the lines of… ‘Oh you’re the ones travelling with chickens. We’ve heard about you’ Or “I’ve just seen your post on the Cape York page” etc, etc. It’s certainly helped to make our travelling chapter much more memorable. We’ve had different comments along the way, with the most popular question being ‘Do they lay eggs?’ Comments like “Chicken for dinner tonight then”…. Ermmmm Nope! Never. I would NEVER do that to my babies. After driving along the corrugated roads and the girls have laid an egg… ‘scrambled eggs for you then’ Ha haaa. Ermmmmm Nope. The yoke is protected in the shell, so ner ner. The nastiest comment Glenn overheard, was a man saying ‘who would take chooks on holiday with them? Ha ha haaa’ knowing full well Glenn could hear him. Well Mr Ignorant Man, we weren’t on holiday! That WAS our home! That IS where we were living on that particular day. Don’t ever judge someone and be nasty. That’s just a reflection of who you are Mr! Leave my babies and our lives alone.

Challenges along the way

We couldn’t visit or stay in any national parks, as no dogs are allowed. We took this to mean we couldn’t take our girls in either, even though they were fully contained within our vehicle and rarely made a noise. We always cleaned up their mess as best as possible, even though their poop is really good fertiliser. If we wanted to go out on a trip for the day, we couldn’t leave our girls on their own. There were boat trips and other tours we wanted to do, but couldn’t. As a responsible parent, I can’t leave my girls locked up in the back of the cruiser all day, or leave them out in their run unattended. The girls may try and escape again or another animal could eat them. This was not an option! There were days when we wanted to travel for longer periods, yet we had to stop to give the girls a break and stretch their little legs. If you’ve been sitting for hours in the car, how do you feel when you get out of the car? I know I need a good stretch, so it will be the same if not worse for the girlies.

Favourite Places

There’ve been so many amazing places, it’s hard to pick a favourite. The memories that’ve been created during this chapter of our lives, will always be with us. The girls loved staying at Kilkivan Bush camp, as they got to free range a fair bit whilst we were here. We camped unpowered, on their 10 acre grassy area with shade. There weren’t many people on the unpowered section, so we all had heaps of space to relax and enjoy the area. I saw birdlife there, that I never even knew existed. But then, as we travelled farther into the outback, there were all sorts of wildlife and fauna that neither of us knew existed. We free Camped outside Chinchilla on a river bank. This place was also amazing. The girls couldn’t free range, due to other people having dogs with them (The girls are very scared of dogs). I got my sewing machine out and made curtains for inside our box trailer. Ha haaa. Glenn bought a dilly and caught some small yabbies. He was hoping to do some fishing, but the girls ended up eating them all. Ha haaa.

What happened when you broke down?

As most of us know things happen in 3’s. Lets just say the girls made friends along the way, by sitting outside the back of a garage for the majority of a day, Stayed at a motel and spent a couple of hours outside a welding unit, during our travels. Everyone has been so very helpful and supportive, when we needed it the most. It was the best decision we made to register with RACQ, before we started travelling. The roads are very bad in numerous areas around Queensland, so bad in fact, that it caused our drawbar on our trailer to snap in half on a railroad crossing! The girls loved the free ranging at the motel we stayed in for the night.

Where are you today?

Glenn and I decided we needed to get back to work. We were both getting the itch to work again, so started looking for work. As we’re both in the tourism ‘Guest Experience’ Industry, we wanted to stay by the coast. QLD didn’t have any vacancies for what we were looking for, so we applied for 1 position in NSW. With our previous Knowledge and experience, we were successful in securing our new roles as Managers for Pet friendly, Brigadoon Holiday Park, in North Haven. We’re located 30 minutes South of Port Macquarie and 3 hours North of Sydney. Set on 21 acres of lawns with shady sites, amazing wildlife and fauna, lined with Sting Ray Creek and boat ramps, an amazing bird aviary, an off lease dog area, Swimming Pool, Tennis Courts, Putt Putt Golf, views that create memories and so much more. Bubble and Soap are currently in the bird Aviary, with their travel home, until we can build a real home for them. Once we’ve built their new home, I would love to have some Silkies again.

Would you do a road trip with your chook pets again?

If we were to go on a holiday, we would ask someone to look after the girls for us, but if we were to lose our home and jobs again, I would absolutely take them with me. I think Glenn would rather we leave the girls with a trusted person, to look after them until we found somewhere. It can be restrictive at times like I’ve said, so he doesn’t want to do it again. They are my babies and I can’t bare to give them away again. I miss all of my babies from Cape Tribulation, but I’m glad I’ve got photos and videos of them all. I know I’ve missed out heaps of our travels, but if you would like to know more, get in touch. Any feedback and or questions are welcome, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. Remember, the girls are on Facebook, Instagram and now reside at pet friendly Brigadoon Holiday Park in North Haven, NSW. 2443.
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