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Livestock Trailer Alternative?

Kahty Chen

Joined: May 07, 2010
Posts: 26
Location: Southern Oregon
I'm going to start accumulating four legged property-mates (several goats, a couple of sheep, and a donkey or 2). I don't have a livestock trailer, or a good enough friend to borrow from. I've heard of people transporting goats in cars, but what about donkeys? Any ideas for making the back of a pick-up safe enough (we have a full size p/u), or other safe alternative?

OTOH, I'm new to animal husbandry. Is owning a livestock trailer kind of a prerequisite? Should I understand that owning transportation is just part of the program?
Mike Turner

Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 199
Location: Upstate SC
When I got my first 6 sheep, I cut up 2 cattle panels to build a sturdy cage that mounted in the bed of my full sized pickup and transported them several hundred miles on the interstate with no problems.  Its amazing what you can come up with when you combine a little imagination, some cattle panels, and recip saw, some wire, and some metal clips.  For a solid wall, trap a tarp between two layers of cattle panel.  The pickup pen I built was "u" shaped with the curve of the "u" towards the cab, a flat top holding the "u" together and a hinged door on the back end just inside the tailgate.  The whole pen was tied down using the tie downs inside the bed.  It used 1 whole cattle panel for the "u" shaped wall, a cut piece for the roof and the 2nd cut piece for the door.

Joined: Dec 26, 2010
Posts: 32
I own 3 horses, 3 sheep and a St. Bernard.  I have not had a stock trailer in over 10 years.  (I don't even have a truck, just a smallish suv.)  I would love to have a truck and trailer, but it doesn't make sense here at my farm, I find ways around it.

Most small town-ish local feed stores rent trailers.  You already have the truck, so you are way ahead of me. 

If you put rails up on your truck you should be able to haul almost any calm-ish large animal.  My pony was delivered on the back of a truck (no rails) and I have a friend that hauled a Jersey cow in the back of her truck (with rails).  I think a donkey would be fine.  (Sheep and goats will do fine in the back of a truck (without rails) if they are in a large dog carrier.)

Good luck!

Joined: Dec 26, 2010
Posts: 32
And I agree with basjoos. 

Joined: May 27, 2009
Posts: 37
Location: Western Washington
Certainly for goats, if you're only hauling one or two at a time, a car would be adequate.  I have a station wagon and I just fold down the back seat and lay a tarp down when I need to haul a goat (such as a doe to a buck).

Even a tarp spread over the back seat of a sedan would be fine for one or two.  I would not haul a smelly buck that way, though.  Ugh.  You'd probably never get that smell out of the car.

And, of course, if you're hauling a herd, a car wouldn't do.

If you have access to someone with a truck with a canopy that encloses completely, that would work well, too.  That's how I hauled 21 goats (in two loads) when I moved five years ago.

I would never haul a goat (even tied) in the open bed of a truck, but that's just me.

I don't know about sheep.  It would probably depend a lot on how tame it/they is/are.

As for the donkeys, I would check Craigslist.  I often see people offering to haul livestock.  Unless you're planning on doing a lot of transporting of your donkeys (showing or whatever people with donkeys do with them), I wouldn't think investing in a stock trailer would make much sense.  Hiring someone with the proper equipment (or renting it yourself, which was already mentioned) makes more sense to me.

Edited to add: You could also check with your local 4-H, FFA, pony clubs.  Sometimes older 4-H/FFA, etc. members are looking for ways to earn money and may be available to haul animals.  Insurance may be an issue, though.  To get names of 4-H leaders, contact your local county extension office.

jacque greenleaf

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
I met a guy on the interstate who was hauling sheep from LA to southern Oregon.

He had a flatbed trailer, the kind often used for hauling motorcycles, and had built a pen on it with stock panels.

Sheep did fine, we played tag with him all through California almost all the way to Oregon.
Walter Jeffries

Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 1027
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
We don't like trailers because our mountain roads are so treacherous. Instead we have an extended body cargo van. The pack half or so is our livestock space. In front of that is a chest freezer. In front of that is the passenger bench seat and then the driver & navigator up front.

Six live pigs, six pigs of pork, six people and a dog riding shotgun.



Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
Kahty Chen

Joined: May 07, 2010
Posts: 26
Location: Southern Oregon
Thanks for the ideas and suggestions! I like basjoos' idea for transporting goats with the cattle panel "pen" in the back of the pick up. And I'll look into rentals for the donkeys. I don't know equines yet, but I gather they'd be more sensitive about their ride. 

Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
I've hauled sheep  in a minivan and even one pony..That got a lot of looks when cars passed us and saw a horse looking morosely out at them   I had a horse delivered once in the back of a pickup with no rails but I personally wouldn't ever do it that way. It's possibly  also against the law as in many places it's even against the law to have dogs untied in the back of trucks so they can't jump out.

Easy to get some pallets and bang them together to make stock racks that  slide into the bed and latch together at the might want to make the inside solid faced at least at the bottom so nobody gets a foot caught in the spaces or tries to climb out. The back can be made up of a pallet or two with a solid top -3/4 in plywood is good with slats mounted on the face so they don't slip will carry a full size horse with no problem. I glued and nailed bits of old carpet under the gets messy sometimes but better that than an accident. This will act as a  ramp that lifts up and becomes the back gate.  Or, if you need something that will hold them in right away, make a sliding door that comes down as the last one goes in and use bolts that slide through to hold the ramp so it can be simply taken off and either left  for another time or loaded on the side to unload at your destination. 

Years ago nobody had trailers, they all used versions of stock racks if they had trucks. I have seen trailers made out of old truck boxes used to haul creatures  as well..the sort of thing people make into  utility trailers but with higher sides. It's now a sort of status thing to have trailers instead of stock racks I think.

I also moved an adult Arabian stallion 1500 or so miles in the back of a UHaul truck..I lined the sides and bottom with particle board, had LOTS of  sawdust bedding and gated in the back with 2x6s then left the back door of the UHaul up. (Nothing was attached to the truck itself, it was a self contained thing, the back was kept from falling out by the way the truck box was built, I just had to make sure it wouldn't fall IN).   People kept passing me and signalling that the back door was up    The first couple of times that happened I figured something was wrong but he travelled quite serenely. I was a bit concerned that the exhaust might curl up and into the truck box but it didn't seem to and it was a matter of no other options anyway. Even when we stopped overnight he was a happy camper. I didnt take him out but he had the equivilent of an 8x16 foot stall in there so figured he was ok for a day as long as he had water and hay. After  taking out the panelling, all of which was resusable, and taking the truck through the carwash, the UHaul people never even knew what I had hauled in it.
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