By Shelia Grobosky
Hours of hard work and preparation go into getting your livestock ready for the show. Hauling livestock to the show in the heat of the summer can be stressful.
Making plans with a reliable weather app, allowing plenty of time, following some basic animal husbandry practices and keeping animals on a schedule are four of the most important considerations to keeping your livestock healthy and handling travel in summer heat, said Jeanene Dal Porto, co-owner of Dal Porto Livestock at Oakley, Calif.
“It’s all pretty simple. If you’re hot, they are hot. If you are miserable, they are miserable. You have spent all this time and work at home in the barn, doing whatever it is needed to prepare for this show, and you need to continue with that on the road. Don’t quit just because you pulled out of the driveway,” Dal Porto told SureChamp.
“You can give yourself a break when you pull back into the driveway when you get home, but you’ve spent all that time, blood, sweat, tears, love, everything you did and it doesn’t quit because you’re on the trailer heading to the show. That’s when it gets real. That’s when the real work starts.”
Here are five quick tips to keep your livestock healthy and safe on the road this summer.
1. Keep your animals cool. If possible, travel during the cooler parts of the evening. Be sure that any ventilation you have on the trailer is open, working and not blocked. It is best to have front and rear vents open to maximize air flow.
2. Make sure livestock stay hydrated. While proper ventilation is of upmost important, so is keeping your animals hydrated. Be sure to have water buckets easily accessible. If you are hauling water from home, have that water readily available so when you do stop, you can easily water your animals.
3. Don’t overcrowd your trailer. For smaller animals like pigs, lambs and goats, pen the animal in the same way they are penned at home to avoid any fighting on the trailer that might cause injury while traveling.
4. Provide slip-proof bedding. Keep your livestock as comfortable as possible on their trip, without slipping and falling. Be sure to provide them with good, slip-proof bedding for the haul. Shavings or wood chips are a good option as well as a rubber mat. Remember, shavings will help absorb any animal waste, and help keep your animals clean.
5. Check your truck before you head down the road. Look your truck and trailer over for any maintenance issues. Are the tires properly inflated? Lights connected and working? Trailer doors all closed and secured? These might seem like simple reminders, but when in a hurry to leave, it is often the simple things that are overlooked.
The hours of preparation are worth the memories you’ll make at the show. Take the extra time needed to make sure your animals are safe during your travels this summer.
More from Farm Journal's PORK: