When transporting livestock many actions need to be taken to get the animals safely to their destination. Animals are transported for many reasons: they could be moving from one farm to another, cull animals headed to the sale barn or an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Wherever the animals are going it's important that they are safe and comfortable.
Overcrowding in the trailer - overcrowding causes poor ventilation which can cause respiratory issues. If an animal falls in the trailer and they are unable to get back up they could get seriously injured. There are industry guidelines for how many animals can be in a trailer at one time. The number recommended is determined by the length of the trailer and the weight of the animals. Slick surfaces - avoid buying trailers with wooden floors. Wooden floors can become slippery when wet and could cause animals to slip and fall. If your trailer floor is slick, consider adding floor mats and sawdust or straw to help the animals have more traction. Improper handling - loading and unloading animals is a stressful time for the animals and humans. Try and remain calm and the animals will remain calm.
Clean and disinfect the trailer between livestock loads to prevent the spread of disease. Check for sharp objects inside the trailer that could potentially harm the animals. Add sawdust or straw to the inside of the trailer to prevent animals from slipping. Feed and water animals before loading and after reaching the destination.
The driver needs to avoid distractions when hauling livestock. Follow the speed limit, no texting, drive defensively and stay alert. If driving throughout the night make sure you get plenty of sleep during the day.
Summer travel requires extra care
On hot days consider transporting animals in the early morning or late afternoon once it has cooled down. If you must transport animals, trailer capacities should be reduced 85% to increase air flow between animals. Keep ventilation holes open to allow air to come into the trailer. If you must stop, park the trailer in the shade and at right angles to increase the air circulation throughout the trailer. Avoid stopping unless it is necessary, stopping increases stress and heat buildup in the trailer.
When hauling animals many actions need to be taken so the animals make it to their destination with as little stress and no injuries.
Shelby Tedrow is an Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H Program assistant for Wayne County Extension. She can be reached at 330-264-8722
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.