Cleaning Your Livestock Trailer

Keeping your equipment clean and in good condition not only makes it last longer, but can also prevent disease transmission.  For a state-by-state map of livestock trailer washes, visit this website: The truck washes listed on the site that also accept livestock trailers do not necessarily clean the inside of the livestock trailer.  For that you will need:

  • Bucket
  • Sanitizer or commercial trailer wash solution
  • Scrub brushes (large one with a long handle, and smaller one for crevices and small nooks)
  • Running water (or pressure washer)
  • Flat shovel

Ideally you’ll park the trailer on some sort of slope with the rear doors at the lowest point.

  1. Begin by opening the trailer up – all doors, vents, windows.
  2. Using the flat shovel, remove all debris from the floor, scraping as much out as you can.
  3. Remove the floor mats and take them out to be washed separately.
  4. Hose down the inside of the trailer, ceiling to floor, spraying debris out of the trailer.
  5. Mix the sanitizer in the bucket and take your brushes and bucket into the trailer with you.
  6. Thoroughly clean the inside of the trailer with the scrub brushes.  Pay special attention to areas where animals feed (manger if there is one) or their faces come in close contact.  While cleaning, make note of any damage – jagged edges, rust, or other places where germs can collect or where an animal could be cut or injured.  If possible, repair them immediately.  Scrub all surfaces including ceiling, dividers, walls, and floors.
  7. Thoroughly rinse the inside of the trailer.
  8. Use the sanitizer and brushes on the mats, scrubbing both sides and rinsing thoroughly.
  9. Sanitize the scrub brushes, flat shovel, outside of the bucket, and any other tools you used to clean the trailer (i.e. mat-grabbers, rubber gloves, etc.)
  10. Rinse everything thoroughly.
  11. Allow the mats, tools, and inside of the trailer to dry before putting everything back.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when mixing sanitizer.  If you have none available, vinegar or bleach are suitable alternatives, although bleach can cause respiratory problems.  If using bleach, follow the “three rinses” rule – rinsing the trailer, mats, and tools three times.  If you can still smell the bleach, rinse more.

Following these guidelines between loads will help prevent the transmission of disease between animals, and will keep your equipment in top condition.


Warm Weather Hauling

Precautions to Take When Hauling Livestock in Warm Weather

With summer approaching, it’s time to think about precautions you can take when hauling livestock in warm weather.  Livestock have a lower tolerance to heat and humidity than humans, and often have limited means for cooling themselves.

There are two factors to consider when hauling in warm weather:  heat and humidity.  The relative humidity affects animals’ ability to cool by evaporation.  The more moisture there is in the air, the less evaporation that occurs, and as a result, less cooling benefit to the animal.  As the air temperature increases, cooling becomes more important.

The chart below is the Heat Index Chart for Cattle.  Color-coding in the chart indicates danger levels for cattle based on heat and humidity. (From

Cattle, sheep, and swine all have different Heat Indices.  For sheep Heat Index go here: and for Swine Heat index go here:


When you make plans to transport livestock in the summer, consider the following to alleviate heat stress:

  • Avoid transporting when the Heat Index is above 93 on the above chart
  • Plan transport during the cooler parts of the day, avoiding the hours between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm as that is generally the hottest time of day
  • Haul fewer animals at a time if at all possible
  • Avoid stopping.  If you must stop, park the animals in shade
  • Make stop durations as short as possible
  • If possible, plan shorter trips in hotter weather
  • Check weather service forecasts for your route and destinations.  They will often include information for livestock haulers
  • Ensure the livestock are well hydrated before shipping.  Often animals won’t drink while in transport, even if drinking water is available
  • In some instances it is possible to give animals electrolytes prior to shipping, consider doing that
  • Make sure your load has plenty of ventilation and airflow
  • At all times animals should be handled quietly and calmly when loading, hauling, and unloading.  This is especially true in high heat and humidity situations
  • At times when it is especially hot out, consider cancelling the transport until cooler weather arrives.

By following these precautions and avoiding high-stress situations, you can ensure your load is delivered safely and without heat stress.


Back Your Trailer ANYWHERE! – 3 Exercises

Horses and Trailer
Photo by Katie@!

Trailer-backing is a seemingly mysterious art that is easy to master and essential to the safety of you and your livestock.  Being a proficient backer will save you hundreds (or thousands!) in repair bills for your equipment, and will help ensure the safety of your livestock and others around you.  Follow these steps to learn to back your trailer.

Find a large empty area where you can practice.  An empty parking lot or field with no traffic or obstacles is the ideal training ground for you to begin.

  1. Back straight, using mirrors.  Using your mirrors to back up is critical because in this way you never take your eyes off of your load.  You have multiple points of reference (your mirrors) without having to try to turn around.  This task teaches you trailer awareness – you will get to know what your trailer looks like in your mirrors when it’s perfectly straight, and what it looks like when it is turning.
    • Begin with your truck and trailer straight.  To do this, drive forward in a straight line until the truck and trailer are aligned.
    • Adjust your mirrors.  Make sure you can see your trailer in all of your mirrors.  Note what part of the trailer you are seeing – the driver’s side fender, the back corner, etc.
    • Put your vehicle in reverse.
    • Place your hands at 8 and 4.  Imagine your steering wheel is a big clock.  When you are driving forward, your hands are ideally in the 10:00 and 2:00 position.  To make corrections easier while backing, place your hands at the 8:00 and 4:00 positions on your imaginary clock.
    • Begin backing slowly.
    • Look in your mirrors.  Where is that trailer part you were seeing?  Is it out of site of your mirror?  That means you are no longer backing straight.
    • Make small corrections early, not big corrections late.  Your timing will improve with practice.  Make it a goal to keep that one trailer part you identified before (the driver’s side fender, for instance) in the same spot on your mirror as it was when you were perfectly straight at the beginning.
    • Pull forward, and do it again.  See how far back you can go while keeping your truck and trailer aligned.  Set a goal for being able to back your truck and trailer across the open area as straight as you can.
  2. Back in a half-circle, using mirrors.  Choose a target in your open area where you’d like your trailer to end up.  You could even mark it with a cone.  Think about what you will need to do to get the trailer to that point by turning your vehicle’s tires, and which way you’ll need to turn your vehicle’s steering wheel.
    • Begin with your truck and trailer straight.
    • Adjust your mirrors.  Again, note what part of your trailer you are seeing and where you see it in your mirrors.
    • Put your vehicle in reverse.
    • Place your hands at 8:00 and 4:00.
    • Go Left.  This is where having your hands at 8:00 and 4:00 really helps.  If you want to turn your trailer to a target to your left, turn with your left hand (8:00) and begin turning your steering wheel in a clockwise motion (moving your left hand from 8:00 toward 10:00).  This is not an abrupt motion, just turn slowly and smoothly, correcting as you go.
    • Look in your mirrors.  For a target to your left, you should begin to see more of the trailer fill your driver’s side mirror, and perhaps none of the trailer in your passenger’s side mirror.
    • Try to make a nice arc, not a sharp turn.  You are hopefully in a pretty safe environment, but that doesn’t make it entirely risk-free.  A sharp turn when backing can jack-knife your trailer, damaging your truck and trailer!
    • Keep practicing, and practice turns in both directions.
  3. Serpentine.  Sounds impossible?  Just link the half-circles you learned in Exercise 2.
    • You can set up cones to back around.  Place the cones further apart than the entire length of your truck and trailer combined.  As you improve, move the cones closer together.

With a little practice you can learn to back your trailer anywhere!


Types of Horse Transportation

Photo by Luis Tamayo

Horse transportation comes in a variety of services and providers.  Some specialize in race or show horses.  In order to legally transport those specialty horses, these providers must have specific insurance and licensing.  Some providers specialize in local transport, while others offer international transportation services.  What is the right type for you?

  1. Local transport.  Local transport can be anything from a ‘taxi’ service to and from the vet, or shipping a horse from a seller to its new owner in a nearby town.  While the same considerations for your horse’s health and safety should be taken, shorter trips can require slightly less advance preparation and may or may not require health certificates and brand certificates if the trip won’t change states.
  2. Interstate transport.  Interstate transport services typically follow a schedule.  The schedule can be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly and service a geographic area including multiple states.  For instance, a Northwest provider might service Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.  While these trips may be relatively short – from a few hours to a day or two – the preparation and paperwork requirements are similar to those of longer distance hauling.  Be ready to provide health, brand, and Coggins test certificates for your hauler.
  3. National transport.  Because of the wide area that is serviced by national transport services, their schedules tend to be weekly or bi-weekly.  National transport service requires greater preparation and planning.  Shipping your horse for further distances will require more paperwork too.  Work closely with your national transportation service to determine the paperwork required.  Plan this type of transportation well in advance to provide enough time for certifications, vaccinations, dietary changes, and scheduling.
  4. International transport.  International transport services provide shipping of your equine to different countries.  Any time your horse is transported to or by way of another country, travel requirements can be more complicated.  For instance, transporting your horse to Canada (or through Canada to Alaska) requires that any packaged feed or medication be in unopened packages.  International transport schedules vary depending on destination and service type.

All of the above types of transport are available for show or race horses.  Show and race horse haulers require specific licenses, which can be verified with

In all instances, the general guidelines for finding a transport service apply: verify credentials, check references, and prepare in advance to assure the safest experience for your horse.

5 Things to Look for When Selecting Transportation Services

Cattle Drive
Image by Charles Henry

Transporting horses, especially over long distances, can be a large undertaking.  Entrusting a stranger with the task of hauling your horse is scary.  Use the following guidelines when selecting a transportation service:

  1. Always verify a hauler’s credentials.  Transporters must be licensed by the USDOT and must display their license number on their website and business cards.  You can verify the license of your prospective hauler by visiting:
  2. Ask the hauler what their feed and water policy is for long-distance hauling.  If a hauler simply says that they provide feed and water, that is not enough.  Horses often refuse water while en route.  It is not uncommon for a horse to become dehydrated during transport.  Look for a service that includes stops every 3 to 4 hours so your horse will have a chance to rest and rehydrate.
  3. Verify the transportation schedule.  Look for a hauler who can meet your deadline.  However, make sure that you and the transportation service account for rest stops and overnight rest.  Providing sufficient rest for both the driver and your horse helps ensure your horse arrives safely.
  4. Ask to see the equipment used to haul your horse.  Will your horse be in a separate stall with no contact with other horses?  Is the trailer enclosed for winter travel or well vented for summer travel?  If you have the opportunity to see the transportation provider’s, perform the same type of check of their equipment that you would of your own.  Check the tires for sufficient tread.  Ask to see a road-side safety kit.  Check the trailer for solid flooring.  Reputable transporters will be happy to walk you through their truck and trailer and answer your questions.
  5. Ask the provider for references.  It is not enough to see the testimonials that the provider lists on their webpage.  Ask for contacts and follow-up with those contacts.  Especially seek references from people who’ve used the transporter for similar jobs to the one you need.  If you are having a mare and foal delivered, ask for references of other mare and foal deliveries.

A reputable transportation service will gladly answer any of your questions and show you their equipment.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you are placing precious cargo in their hands.

Livestock Transport Relaunch

Livestock TransportationLivestock Transport has just released a new version of the site.  The site has been upgraded with new social features like ratings, feedback, comments, and messaging.  We have a RSS news feed to keep you in touch with news items and new shipping request / trip tickets  at (so subscribe now).

All new requests and trips are broadcast  on twitter (  and facebook (

Enjoy the site and let us know of any changes you would like on the site or any issues you may encounter.

How to Buy a Horse Trailer

By: Chris Robertson

Whether you own one horse or several, a horse trailer will provide a convenient way to travel with your horses to shows, rodeos, camping sites, horse trails, or wherever you need to take your horses. Horse trailers are also useful in case of an emergency if you have to evacuate your horses or get them to a veterinarian in a hurry. But buying a horse trailer can be a little confusing because there are so many different types and styles available. Here are some things to look for when shopping for a horse trailer.

Stall Details

Probably the most important features that will determine how well your horse travels are the features of the stalls. How many stalls are included? What size are the stalls (length, height, and width)? If your horse’s ears are touching the ceiling of the trailer, it is probably too short. Also, be sure the horse will have room to turn around for exiting. Some horses can be very difficult when it comes to backing them out of a trailer stall.

Be sure there’s plenty of ventilation for each stall. Horse trailers usually have from two to nine stalls. It’s a good idea to get a horse trailer with one extra stall than what you actually need. This will provide more room for your horses and also allows you to add another horse in the future.

Trailer Entrance: Step Up or Ramp

Horses are like people in some ways… they seem to have their own preferences when it comes to horse trailers. They especially have their own preferences when it comes to stepping up into a trailer and/or walking up a ramp into the trailer. This makes choosing a horse trailer difficult because you might not be sure which method of loading your horse would feel more comfortable with. Before you start shopping, find a couple of friends with horse trailers of different styles and ask if you can do a test load with your horse. You might be able to find out ahead of time what type of trailer will work best for your horse.

Slant Load or Straight Load

Another thing to consider is if you will buy a slant load or straight load horse trailer. The slant load trailer has stalls that are slanted diagonally from right to left. The horses stand in a slanted position while riding. These are usually economical for carrying more than two horses. A straight load trailer enables you to load the horses straight into the trailer from the rear and the horses face forward while riding. With both styles, choose a horse trailer that is the correct size, has proper ventilation, and provides the features you need.

Bumper Pull or Gooseneck

Consider whether you want a bumper pull or gooseneck trailer. The bumper pull trailer attaches to a hitch near the rear bumper of your towing vehicle. The gooseneck extends over the bed of the hauling truck and attaches in the truck bed. The main difference is the gooseneck can provide extra room for dressing room or living quarters.

There are other features to consider as well. The trailer might be made of steel or aluminum, or a blend of the two. It might have a tack room in the front of the stall area where you can store saddles, bridles, buckets, feed, and trunks. Some horse trailers come with dressing rooms fancied with a mirror, table, and an area to hang clothes. Some have roomy living quarters featuring a bedroom or two, dining room table, kitchenette, and bathroom. Living quarters are great for frequent campers!

Towing Vehicle

Before buying a horse trailer, consider what type of trailer you will be able to haul with your current truck or vehicle. Some vehicles haul better than others, and some can handle heavier trailers than others.

Consider all these features when shopping for a trailer, and go online to compare horse trailers and brand names such as Sundowner horse trailers. You can search for trailers by brand name or by location and state. For example, if you live in Tennessee, you might search for “horse trailers in Tennessee” or “Sundowner of Tennessee.” You can also find used horse trailers for sale if you’re on a tight budget.

Use these tips to find a horse trailer that you and your horses will enjoy for years to come.

Author Resource:

Chris Robertson is a published author of
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Preparation Is Key To Helping Livestock In A Weather Emergency Situation

By: Art Gib

If livestock is an integral part of your livelihood, then you know that their safety and well-being should be uppermost in your mind at all times. Losing even a small percentage of your animals or fowl can mean the difference between your long-term success and financial disaster. If you live in high-risk areas, preparation is a key to helping your livestock survive during a weather-related emergency situation. Here are a few basic steps that livestock owners should take before disaster strikes.


If your area is prone to floods, keep an emergency shelter on high ground to give the animals a safe, dry place to wait out the emergency separate from people. Cohabitation of people and animals is never a good idea even for short periods of time since it invites both vermin as well as disease.

If storms or earthquakes are your most likely hazards, you must have a backup power generation system in place to help your herds and flocks survive under harsh conditions. You will need to have plenty of electricity to not only keep the animals warm and calm but also to operate milking machinery, egg incubators, etc. There are plenty of great industrial power generators on the market that are suitable for a whole range of farming applications: look for the best deals online.


In the case of a natural disaster, it is very possible that your hay, grain, and other backup feed supplies will be destroyed. Even if your large animals are usually pastured, there is no guarantee that that option will be available to them, especially if there is a flood. You may want to consider keeping a quantity of multi-nutrient blocks such as urea-molasses in watertight, portable containers that are easily transportable if necessary. These blocks provide much-needed energy, vitamins and minerals, as well as essential nitrogen to keep them as healthy as possible until they can return to their regular feeding routine.


In the first 72 hours following a weather emergency it may be difficult or even impossible to get your livestock the clean water it needs to survive. Keeping a reserve of clean water on your property is imperative to help them get through the worst. You should have a standing agreement with a water supply company to truck in water when it becomes possible to do so. Trying to arrange for trucked-in water after a disaster occurs will be difficult indeed, and you may find that your herd will not be able to get the help it needs when it needs it.

Taking care of your animals’ 3 basic needs: shelter, food, and water should be part of any owner’s basic emergency plan. The time to plan is now, before disaster strikes.

Author Resource:-> Specialty Vehicle Service and Refurbishment ( is a power generation systems. Art Gib is a freelance writer.

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What Items Are Couriers Not Allowed To Carry?

By: Paul McDuffy

The types of cargo that a Miami courier service can or cannot carry depend a great deal on the specifics of the courier company in question. There are permits and licenses which can be obtained which will allow a courier company to transport goods which they might otherwise not be allowed to move. This is important to inquire about if you are trying to ship anything which is governed by its own types of laws, such as medical material or pharmaceutical products. These both require special permits and designations on the part of the courier company because there are specialized requirements involved in shipping them, for example, in the way that extra security is required whenever moving drugs, because there is a high risk in moving cargo of this nature. The only blanket rule you can apply to all courier companies is that they will not move anything which it is illegal to possess, as this would obviously also leave them liable in regards to the illegality of the item or product in question.

Another type of product that most courier companies can’t transport is anything which is labeled or designated as toxic or hazardous. However, there are shipping companies which do have the permits and the vehicles necessary to move these types of products; you just have to look for one which specializes in moving hazardous goods.

Trade agreements further complicate the laws regarding what a courier can or cannot transport. This means that there are certain laws which dictate the movement of certain types of things across international borders. Anything being shipped to Canada, for example, must have the proper documents accompanying it, and must be cleared under any relevant trade agreements before a courier company could move it across those borders.

Some couriers can, and others cannot, also transport live goods, such as cattle. Usually there are shipping companies which specialize in livestock transportation, but some local larger couriers might have a specialized division which does this while also conduction regular courier duties.

If you’re trying to ship anything out of the ordinary it is simply best to call the courier company and discuss with them upfront what you’re going to try and ship with them. You don’t want to place an order for a shipment and realize that you have a problem when the driver comes to pick up your load, as that can cost you both time and money.

Author Resource:-> Paul McDuffy is an International Consultant for courier service in Miami and courier service companies. Additionally, Paul is a seasoned human resources consultant for Nurse Jobs.

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Humane Society, Hurting Livestock Industry

Recently country entertainer Carrie Underwood announced she was recording Motley Crue’s song “Home Sweet Home” for American Idol and that a portion of the sales would go towards the Humane Society of the United States to find dogs home. This is a popular misconception to those donating.

The fact is the HSUS is once again being investigated for misuse of funds following large amounts of money raised in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. There was also the matter of raising money for Michael Vick‘s pitbulls then along with PeTA working towards legislation that encourages killing anything that looks like a “pitbull”.

A bigger concern for livestock owners is that not only does HSUS not own a single shelter but they have you in their target scope. They demand perfection. Not almost, not the standards they themselves have but perfection. With 4 million head of cattle marketed last year five videotaped and presented as normal business appeared on many news shows and resulted in the largest beef recall in US history. There was no timestamp to give any documentation but four out of thousands of sale barns failed and it is presented against all cattlemen.

The Humane Society of the US gets major publicity with a tape of cruelty to cows (apparently they didn’t see to it that existing laws about cruelty were enforced) and on the website pushes…vegan and vegetarian diets. Indeed they present snips of quotes showing that HSUS, USDA and the American Dietetic Association are all in agreement that vegetarian is better.

Indeed “Each industry has its own abusive practices and some are much crueler than others” before citing poultry, egg and pork industries are even worse than cattle.” Americans removed from their agricultural roots know nothing about farming and this is used by equating cattle and pigs with the family dog.

By representing all animal industries as ‘factory farming’ from poultry to aquatic and dairy to veal it with one broad stroke paints all farms the same. It talks of “cage free” in passing but better is to be vegetarian.

It represents that there are no statutes for cruelty on farms, despite cruelty statutes that have been used to prosecute serious cases of abuse. Shipping is a prime target as no matter species it is stressed they have no food, water or protection from heat/cold during the trip nor does it mention some might be an hour or two while other trips are longer.

From abuse of transporting day old poultry in extreme temperatures to the recommendation of “sticks and electric prods should never be used to handle of move cattle” their recommendations are clear. It places responsibility for safe arrival on driver skill without regard to other possible factors. Beef cattle issues are referred to the same information.

In a graph showing housing of dairy cattle it shows USDA statistics that 49.4 % of operations use pasture for any length of time for lactating cows and 60.1% for dry cows, yet focuses on 9.9% primarily using it, showing that 90% therefore don’t allow pasture at any time in the cow’s life. It further shows that 49.2% of operations house lactating cows by tie stall or stanchion, leaving the reader to think millions of cattle are tethered their entire lives without being to move or turn around.

There are bad places in every industry but representing it as normal and a means to shut it down while, on other fronts NAIS and a new food safety regulation program seeks to shut down the smaller producers as well as anyone raising their own food it leaves a question. Who will feed America when small producers can’t and large ones are shut down?