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Transporting Your Livestock: There’s the Easy Way, and the Safe Way

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
March 2, 2016        
Source:  Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator-Livestock
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties

Transporting Your Livestock: There’s the Easy Way, and the Safe Way
By Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (03/02/16) — In the past, I have talked a lot about stockmanship, or the skillful handling of livestock in a safe, efficient, effective, and low-stress manner.  Stockmanship is applicable to all livestock--beef and dairy cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and goats.  There are four basic principles of stockmanship: the animal wants to see you, the animal wants to go around you, the animal wants to go be around other animals, and the animal can only think of one thing at a time.

Today, I’d like to talk about some general stockmanship and safe transporting of animals.  Now, most of this may seem like a no-brainer, but I think it’s always helpful to be reminded on how to safely handle our livestock.  Remember when leading an animal--even though you have the halter, the animal is still in charge. Lead at a comfortable, normal pace for the animal.  Try not to pull on the animal as it can hurt their neck and will cause them to not cooperate.  Avoid making any sudden movements or loud noises to prevent startling the animal.  If you’re halter-breaking an animal for the show ring, remember that they get tired too-don’t overdo it.

When transporting animals, there are a lot of safety precautions to keep in mind.  Carrying livestock is a difficult load for a truck to handle.  There are several steps you can take to ensure you and your animals arrive safely when you’re transporting them.  Before loading the livestock, step into the trailer and look for any hazards.  These could include loose boards, protruding nails, and any garbage.  While in there, also consider the floor.  You may want to add bedding in order to prevent slipping. 

If possible, cover the trailer during inclement weather conditions.  Be sure there are always at least two people loading the trailer, and ensure you are distributing weight evenly along the sides.  As you load animals, make sure you are calm and predictable with your movements.  While on the road, make sure you don’t feel tired or fatigued.  Be sure to pay attention on the road as moving livestock can shift the trailer’s balance. 

Transporting animals is an important part of being a livestock producer.  I hope you all take the necessary steps to ensure safety for yourself and your animals.


Emily Wilmes
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems - Livestock
(320) 255-6169
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