Livestock transport is an integral part of attending fairs, hauling animals to the slaughterhouse, and purchasing new livestock from distant farms.
You’ll probably agree that moving livestock is no simple task. Animals can be a bit unpredictable and tricky to handle at times, and things can easily go wrong if you attempt to do it unprepared.
However, as with all things in the world of livestock farming, even the most complicated tasks can be excellently executed with the right amount of prep work and knowledge.
Without further ado, here are the six best tips for transporting livestock like an absolute pro.
1. In livestock hauling, basic maintenance remains extremely important
You may be able to load cattle into a trailer faster than anyone on the planet, but extraordinary livestock trucking skills come down to NOTHING the moment your truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
With that said, never forget to regularly inspect your brakes, lights, wiring, and tires to make sure that everything is in order. Also, see to it that all safety chains, locks, and latches are not compromised. Check the integrity of the trailer floor, walls, and fences. Obviously, maintenance work will be a breeze if you have a reliably-built, high-quality trailer in the first place.
2. Take note of the numbers
Next, check if the trailer you’re using is a good match to the livestock you’re transporting—especially if you’re dealing with a new load (new animals, a heavier or lighter batch, etc.). Of course, you should also stick to using a truck that’s appropriate to the size and weight of the trailer.
When accounting for load size and weight, don’t forget to include extra supplies like boxes and feed into your computation.
3. Prep your trailer before moving livestock
Now that the requisites are in order, it’s time to prep your trailer. Making sure that your trailer is well-fitted for livestock transport is crucial! Clean the trailer floor and make sure that there’s enough traction to protect the animals from slipping. You can put shavings or straw on the floor to help with this.
4. Helpful tips for loading your livestock trailer
After preparing your livestock trailer comes the tricky part: loading the animals into the trailer for transport. The number-one thing you have to remember is to remain calm. Loading livestock can be frustrating and stressful, but you’d certainly want to avoid scaring or stressing the animals.
Avoid sources of distraction that could deter the animals from going into the trailer, such as noise, rowdy people, and random objects. Amend large step-ups to make the loading process as smooth as possible. Lastly, make sure that all gates and doors are secured and latched tightly.
5. Be mindful of the weather
Livestock hauling requires planning. Assuming you’d already done your research and determined the best route for your journey, it’s time to take weather into consideration.
During the summer, avoid the heat of the day by moving livestock in the morning or evening. Meanwhile, transporting animals during winter requires that you watch your driving speed to avoid pneumonia-causing windchill.
6. Livestock transport calls for attentive and considerate drivers
As mentioned above, livestock transport is by no means simple. As such, it requires drivers who are adequately skilled, respects animals, and understands the risks associated with moving livestock.
If you’re uncomfortable driving a livestock trailer, learn to recognize your personal limits. To avoid unwanted incidents, it’s better to look for someone with more skills and experience to do it for you. Veteran livestock truckers would know all the tricks specific to the trade. An example of this is that keeping extra space between the hauling truck and the vehicle in front of it is necessary, considering that full trailers have longer braking times.
When moving livestock, it’s also important that the driver understands how his driving affects the animals he’s with. Rough driving could lead to animal stress or even injuries, which obviously has effects on weight and meat quality.
Have you ever tried hauling animals all by yourself? Feel free to share your best livestock transport tips in the comments below!