How to Transport Livestock

Livestock Trailers

livestock trailer
This bright red beauty is an example of a typical livestock trailer.

If you've ever traveled with a pet in the car, you probably know how easy it can be to scare your dog or cat with actions like heavy braking, sharp cornering or diving into a big pothole. Now consider the fact that these are tame domestic animals, and depending on how many pets you have in the car, they're probably traveling in very limited numbers with you there for comfort. Livestock are in a much different boat, so let's discuss some of their traveling needs.

A suitable livestock trailer is a huge component of successful animal road transport. It must be large enough for the number and size of animals being transported, and the law usually sets these ratios and dimensions. It must also be well-ventilated since a lack of air can suffocate livestock or highway fumes can poison them. Ventilation is needed at floor level, too; otherwise ammonia-laden urine can linger. However, that doesn't mean the vents can be open through the floor to the highway -- it's not legal to let that mess drop through.

Heat (especially humid heat) can also be a huge problem without proper ventilation. Environmental conditions in general are of great concern, so it's vital to check the weather and prepare for whatever's blowing into town. Extreme temperatures affect particular types of livestock in different ways, so it's vital to have appropriate arrangements set up inside the trailer. Wind chill and rain are also major factors.

Livestock trailers should also have nonslip floors because animals are prone to panicking if they slip. Cross slats of wood or grids of metal are two possibilities for the trip, although other types of skid-resistant flooring are available. Depending on the animals involved, there may also need to be partitioned areas within the vehicle to help decrease the risk of injury. It doesn't hurt to pad the inside of the trailer as well, and in regards to the type of livestock, the vehicle either needs high sides or a roof.

If this is already starting to sound a bit complicated, that's because it is. Click over to the next page to learn about some of the safety precautions that are necessary for transporting livestock.