Photo by Sue Weaver
Dad transported three of our young sheep to their new home in the back of his pickup truck using a goat tote and comfy bedding.
Last week, Dad and Fayre, our Portuguese Water Dog took three of our young sheep, Aliss, Dixie Moon and Gunnar (his name used to be Carrot) to their new home in Glencoe, Okla. They traveled in a covered goat tote in the back of our truck.
You don’t need a livestock trailer to transport small animals like sheep, goats, pigs and calves, but it’s trickier to haul them in a truck or van. That’s because trailers are designed with their safety in mind, truck beds and vans aren’t.
Mom and Dad often transport one or two sheep or goats in the back of their minivan, but no matter how tame an animal is, it shouldn’t be able to jump in the driver’s lap! A sheep and her lambs or goat and her kids can be hauled in a super-size dog crate in a van with the back seat removed. Adding bedding is important because dog- crate floors are slippery. Straw works better than shavings and a thick blanket or two is better yet. (Buy old blankets for cheap at a yard sale or thrift store.) If you load the crate in the back of your van, be sure to spread a tarp on the floor to catch spills. A crate can also be loaded in the bed of the truck, but it should be pulled up close behind the cab and secured with tie-downs. If it’s cold or wet, wrap the top, front and sides with a plastic tarp; tie it securely so it doesn’t flap.
Another way to haul small livestock in a van is to halter and tie each animal to something sturdy. If they’re really tame and you’re sure they won’t panic, haul them loose but with a dog-type barrier screen in place to keep them out of the front seat.
Photo by Sue Weaver
Goat totes are a cozy and safe way to transport small livestock, like sheep.
Livestock carriers, like goat totes, are perfect for hauling livestock in a truck. Don’t, however, take any chances—secure them carefully using sturdy tie-down straps. Also, don’t trust factory-installed latches; if they come open in transit and your animals escape, they could be killed. Reinforce latches with strong bungee cords or rope ties.
If you make your own truck-bed hauler, make it stout! And always add a roof—you’d be surprised how high we can jump when we’re afraid. It’s important to protect animals hauled in trucks from wind, cold and rain, and if you stop in the summer, be sure to park in the shade so your animals don’t overheat. Always drive carefully, accelerating and slowing down gradually, and watch those turns! Don’t make your animals scramble or fall down.
And finally, before you embark on a trip across state lines, be sure you have the correct paperwork in hand. You will always need up-to-date health papers issued by a vet. Sheep must be wearing USDA-approved scrapie ear tags, or if they’re micro-chipped, you must have your own micro-chip reader along on the trip. Goats that live with sheep must be tagged or tattooed. Requirements vary from species to species and state to state, so check with your vet to know what IDs and papers your animals need.