Getting the right trailer for your goats needn't be a daunting task. Finding one that guarantees safety and comfort is key when transporting the animals. Now, with the various options available in the market, you'll get trailers of different weights, sizes, and styles designed to fit multiple use cases. All you need to do is pick the right one.
Ready to take your goats home?
If you're looking for answers, this guide will help you learn how best to transport your goats from one point to another without getting dirty or hurt. Read along!
What Is the Best Way to Transport Goats?
Whether you've bought goats through private selling or a sales yard and now you're planning to take them home or a farm, you'll need to prepare adequate transportation of the animals.
Sufficient protection keeps the goats away from dirt, poor weather, and harm like an attack from predators. And just like human beings, goats need this healthy transportation environment.
While goats survive in numerous environments, like closed confinements or extensive grazing, trailers provide safer transportation housing for them. Adequate ventilation, comfortable restraining, safety covering, well-sealed corners - what more could you ask for?
You can now cater to the good health and nutritional needs of your goats during transit.
What to Look for When Choosing the Trailer for Goats?
With the countless options available on the market, you've got to be keen as you choose your next trailer. They come in numerous sizes, models, material makes, types, and weights. But whether this is your first-time purchase or you're adding more units to your ranch, the factors listed below will narrow down your pick and help you get one that perfectly suits your specific needs.
a) Material Type
Material choice is arguably the most critical factor to consider when choosing a goat trailer; it determines the weight and safety level of the unit. Steel trailers are affordable, extremely durable, and require little maintenance. On the downside, they're of considerable weight and are prone to rust over time.
But if you're looking for something light and durable, the aluminum goat trailer would be an excellent choice. The trailers are rust-resistant and offer low-maintenance demands. However, if you still fancy steel's durability, you could go for galvanized steel as it comes coated and treated to prevent rust - but it will be a bit costlier.
Newer goat trailers are made from a mix of different materials. The most common one is an aluminum trailer paired with fiberglass fenders and roofs. Such a choice composition keeps the trailers durable and lighter.
If you've never bought a livestock trailer before, understanding the different unit sizes can be confusing. But here's a rule of thumb: allow at least 10" space between the goats' head and the trailer ceiling. Plus, ensure that the animals can freely move inside the unit without stumbling on each other. And as you'd guess, larger goats require more space than smaller goats.
Such a space allows the livestock to travel safely and comfortably without the danger of suffocating, especially for the younger or pregnant goats. Let's say you're transporting a sizeable number of goats; in this case, go for larger trailers.
c) Type of Load
The two main loading styles that you're likely to choose are slant loads or straight loads. Straight load trailers will allow the goats to walk straight into the back of the trailer. They offer a spacious room to accommodate one or two goats and are often suitable for larger animals thanks to their more extended stall.
Conversely, the slant load trailers place the goats at an angle. Angling the livestock ensures that the space fits more animals into the bay. This load style would be an excellent choice for loading up multiple goats. Therefore, the load type of a trailer for your needs depends on the size and number of goats you're transporting.
d) Living Quarters
Not all trailers are equipped with living quarters. Some quarters have beds, feeding containers, and storage spaces. Others mimic the RV-style room and come with bathrooms and kitchenettes- complete and elaborate. Usually, the living spaces reside on the front part of the trailer or can rest above your truck bed.
These quarters are an excellent choice if you plan to haul the livestock for long distances or stay overnights at some locations during the transit. Goat trailers with quarters have spaces to eat, relax, and sleep. Unlike the 'ordinary' trailer, these units come with some extra storage spaces where you can keep the trailer organized.
The living quarters are also suitable for farmers who take their goats for exhibitions or shows as they offer a place to get ready for the events and later decompress. If you find this feature interesting, you may need to spend a few more dollars.
e) Type of Trailer
The two main types of goat trailers are; bumper pull trailers and gooseneck trailers. While both units offer multiple benefits, the right one for you depends on the amount of space you need.
Bumper Pull Trailers
They're the most basic livestock trailers, perfect for anyone who needs to haul small number of goats. If you're using this pick, be sure to hitch it up to the towing vehicle for easy hookup. The trailer is suitable for farmers who don't haul their goats often and can't afford the gooseneck trailer.
Therefore, if you're on a tight budget but still need to transport your goats, the bumper pull trailer would be a suitable choice. Another benefit is that it weighs less, is ideal for smaller goats, and offers sustainable gas mileage.
This trailer allows you to haul more goats nearby or distant locations. It is costlier than the bumper pull trailer and offers safer and improved stability for long-distance journeys. Using the gooseneck trailer demands that your truck be equipped with the appropriate hauling hitch.
While these trailers are costlier, the trade-off is worth the price. Investing in this unit guarantees smoother rides, more spacious rooms, and a safer confinement area for hauling multiple and larger goats.
Can You Haul Goats in a Cargo Trailer?
Short answer: No. Long answer: It's not safe.
Most, if not all, cargo trailers don't allow for sufficient airflow. They use only one rooftop vent, which isn't enough for adequate airflow - and closing the door may lead to suffocation. What's more, these units are neither insulated from hot nor cold weather. Your goats will soon get exhausted since the trailers aren't built for livestock transportation.
Some farmers may even have the idea of using heaters to make the cargo space more favorable for the goats. However, heaters that use propane, kerosene, butane, and white gas are NOT recommended in the cargo trailer as they may cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Things to Consider While Loading Goats Into Your Trailer?
How Do You Transport a Large Goat?
Larger goats require larger trailers. For larger goats, you'll need to spend money on larger trailers. Your pick should have solid and secure sides with high walls that the animals cannot jump or fall off. The doors should also close securely with the help of livestock-proof locking systems.
Regardless of how you transport them, make the journey as stress-free as possible. Remember to cover the trailer (if open) from extreme weather conditions and protect your goats from the strong winds and rains. For safe and comfortable transportation of your large goats, provide clean drinking water, adequate shade, and proper ventilation. Also, reduce overcrowding (let them lie down and walk around) and put plenty of straw at the trailer's back; larger goats have massive appetites.
How Do You Reduce Stress in Goats?
Goats may experience stress during loading and transportation. When exposed to environmental stress like overcrowding, fatigue, injury, poor ventilation, thirst, and hunger, you will notice signs like bleating, increased respiration rate, decreased appetite, and lethargy. As a responsible livestock owner, it's vital to minimize the stressors.
Two kinds of transport stresses exist. These include short-acting and long-acting.
Short-acting comes with emotional effects like unstable footing and fear. If you notice this, provide the goats with a non-slip surface and plan initial loading to reduce excess turning and unnecessary stopping.
On the other hand, long-acting stress tends to accumulate over transportation time and could be caused by stressors like excessive noise, vibration, or motion. Fortunately, this type of stress starts to subside 3 hours after the transit. However, if you notice continued signs and symptoms, be sure to see your vet as soon as possible.
What to Expect When Bringing Goats Home?
So, your friends have just arrived home; a new environment and a new goatherd. Unlike sheep and cows, goats adapt to their new environments quicker. They boast dynamic eating behaviors during warm weather and decreased food intake during cold weather conditions. So, get ready to nurse, feed, and take care of them!