How to Haul Pack Goats
When you are planning how to haul pack goats there are several things to consider. What people don’t realize about what happens to pack goats in the back of your truck or in a trailer is that they are constantly having to make balance adjustments with every turn, bump, acceleration, and deceleration. (I call it fighting the invisible man) All of this without the ability to prepare or anticipate those movements. Put yourself in that same environment for hours on end and you would be exhausted! Well, so are they. I notice that they show up really depleted at anything over about 3 hrs drive to the trailhead and that also depends on how rough and curvy the road is. So, the rougher the ride…the harder it is on them. My rule is anything over three hours, I sleep on the trailhead and then pack-in the next morning so they are back at full strength…especially going in heavy.
As far as really long distance travel, I stop every 3 – 5 hours and get everyone out and let them munch a bit, have a drink, and just relax. I also look at them closely to make sure everyone is doing ok. Remember when you travel across state lines you need all your paperwork and a vet certificate on your goats.
There are a couple of things to consider about getting your hauler set up so the drive is as good as it can possibly be. If I had a perfect world choice of a hauler, I would have ventilation I could control 100% (being adjustable from almost closed to lots of air moving through) so they aren’t getting blasted by wind, overheated or sucking their own piss fumes (which can be really bad for them). I would also have separate stalls for each pack goat. Now, I have never been able to manage the separate stalls, long-term, because I’m just not there yet, in my evolution as a packer. It’s mostly about money, as I’ve used stalls before, and they work awesome…it’s just hard to manage that when you keep having more goats It’s expensive to keep changing things. I digress…so back to stalls. What stalls do, that is so important, is it gives them a place to lean into, which helps with the constant movement, but more importantly, it gives them a place to lay down without worrying about someone bullying them. Almost all babies lay down during hauling (I think it’s natural for most goats)… but they stop laying down once they learn they will get squashed by the big boys and they choose to stand. If we just always had them in a stall, I believe they would lay down every time, cause it’s easier on them and it’s what they did since they were little.
The last thing to consider in terms of hauling goats is that a trailer is often rougher on them than your truck’s suspension. I like to haul them in my truck if it’s a rough road into the trailhead. Also, many of the trailheads we try to get into can’t be accessed with a trailer. I suggest you have both options available… both a truck hauler and a trailer. I can only fit 7 packers in my truck and I’m often taking the babies along, on all my trips, so they get the training they need. When I take my whole crew, which is most of the time, I take the trailer…when I’m going somewhere challenging or I’m on a very important trip where I want only my veterans along…it’s my truck (better gas mileage as well).
The truck hauler I developed can be found HERE. It allows for your goats and gear…which is a huge deal if you pack with more than two people. As far as the trailer you need, a small straight load, stock trailer can be had for less than $2000 and will haul all the goats you need.
I hope that helps…Marc