You might need to move your goats in many different scenarios. Whether they’re simply moving to a new paddock, taking a trip to the vet’s, or being sold to a new home, knowing how to transport goats is hence vital.
Fortunately, as someone who has transported or loaded hundreds of goats, I like to think that I know a thing or two about making this process a little less stressful. As such, today, we’re looking at some of the key things you need to know about the different methods for how to transport goats and some key tips to make the process smoother.
After all, transporting goats shouldn’t have to be a major headache, but sometimes, they can make it seem much trickier than it needs to be!
How to Transport Goats Safely
For many people, learning how to safely transport goats comes with numerous challenges. After all, goats will be goats – and while they can seem like a very intelligent species on the surface (and they are), they sure like to make our lives a misery! Nevertheless, it’s not actually all that hard to learn how to transport goats safely, and with the right approach this can be substantially easier overall.
What You’ll Need to Transport Your Goats
What you’ll need to transport your goats depends on how you are moving them. If you are just moving goats to another field or pen, you might not need much equipment; often, a bucket of food will do the job!
However, having a trailer is incredibly useful if you’re transporting goats over longer distances. Alternatively, some people transport goats in dog cages and crates, especially for smaller goats. However, you should always check carefully whether this is allowed legally in your area, and if you do transport your goats in this manner, always ensure that you have taken steps to maintain the goat’s welfare. The goat should have good airflow and the ability to stand up and move at all times during the transport.
If transporting goats over longer distances or in hot weather, always make sure to provide food or water as appropriate to maintain their welfare.
Different Methods for Moving Goats
There are two main methods for moving goats that most people use. First, the majority of people will transport goats over short distances with a bucket or bag of food. Alternatively, a trailer will usually be important if you are moving over longer distances.
However, there are other methods for moving goats; for example, some large herds may move their goats with sheepdogs or quad bikes. However, this may not always be possible, as goats have a much stronger tendency to stand and fight than run compared to sheep.
How to Load Goats on a Trailer
If you decide to go down the trailer route for moving your goats, loading them onto a trailer can be an interesting activity in its own right. Since goats – even nervous goats – often don’t herd well, loading them onto a trailer is often much more on their terms. To take the stress out of the process, we tend to use the following strategy when moving goats or loading goats with a trailer.
First, we make a small chute with hurdles or fencing leading up to the trailer. This allows us to gently usher and encourage the goats towards the trailer. Then, we open up the trailer fully and get the goats into the chute. At this point, we gently push the goats forwards or encourage them to check out the trailer with food; everything is slow, calm, and steady to ensure the goats don’t panic at the sight of the “terrifying” trailer.
In our experience, this tends to be the easiest way to load a group of goats into a trailer. Being curious animals, they will typically try to check the trailer out – and by slowly following behind them, you can encourage them all to enter the trailer calmly. Then, close the trailer door quickly before any of the goats can escape, and your goats are loaded and ready to go!
What About Loading a Single Animal?
If you are loading a goat on its own for a short journey – for example, moving a buck to is new home – it’s worth considering that the goat may be more stressed initially at being alone. However, loading a single animal may be a little easier since you can move the goat (with help) directly to the trailer and up the ramp. Then, simply stand behind the goat to gently push it into the trailer – ideally with a little hay to encourage it – and secure the trailer.
If moving an individual animal, I find it’s best to get on the road quickly, as they tend to settle during transport but may panic when the car is stationary to begin with.
What to Do When You Reach Your Destination
Once you reach your destination, it may be worth allowing the goat a few quiet minutes in the trailer to get used to the new sights and smells before offloading them. Unloading goat is often easier than loading, but if they’re somewhere completely new, always take it slow still; they may be nervous of the new place.
How to Unload Your Goats
Unloading goats is usually easy, but I’d recommend making a similar “chute” to direct them where you want them to go once you’re at your destination. After all, goats will be goats – and this means they’ll quite happily scarper in all directions to make your life harder (at least it seems that way, sometimes!)
Learning how to transport goats comes with many caveats since they are often not as easy to load as other animals, such as sheep. Nevertheless, while transporting goats can seem like a challenge, it’s not actually too difficult to pull off once you know how to transport goats. However, we strongly recommend patience during this process; never try to transport goats at the last minute, as they may take a little longer than many other animals to get used to the idea of being moved. In addition, we recommend that you consider whether or not you could make the process easier with help; loading goats alone is much harder than learning how to transport goats with help!