How to Haul Pack Goats
For more information on transporting goats and things to consider for the best goat hauler, check out this article.
When you are planning how to haul pack goats there are several things to consider. There’s something people don’t realize about what happens to pack goats in the back of your truck or in a trailer. This 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 trail head. 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 trail head and then pack in the next morning. In this way they are back at full strength, especially if going in heavy.
Long Distance Travel
As far as really long distance travel, I stop every 3 – 5 hours and get everyone out. I 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.
Pack Goat Haulers
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. This way they aren’t getting blasted by wind, overheated, or sucking their own urine 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. That’s 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… The problem is it’s just hard to manage that when you keep having more goats! Guilty!
It’s expensive to keep changing things. What stalls do that is so important, is it gives them a place to lean into. That helps with the constant movement. 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. It’s easier on them and it’s what they did since they were little.
Trailers and Trucks
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 trail head. Also, many of the trail heads 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. 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 on a very important trip where I want only my veterans along…it’s my truck. It helps that it gets better gas mileage as well.
The truck hauler I developed can be found HERE
. If you’re interested in a custom build for your truck, check it out 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. It’s super important to get a dual axle trailer to smooth the bumps. It’s also crucial for saving them in case of a flat so you don’t risk rolling a trailer.
Update as of January 2020! The new and improved hauler system addresses several drawbacks from the original design I noticed over the years. Now with a reinforced door, 7 interior attachment points, 4 exterior attachment points, FULLY waterproof side compartments (Finally!), and optimized front and rear ventilation, this thing is a beast!This hauler can fit up to 6 adult, horned pack goats with integrated space for ALL saddles and panniers. Order your custom goat hauler through packgoats.com and pick it up in Caldwell, ID.
Here’s some more information on optimal ventilation, space, and suspension for hauling goats.
I hope that helps you plan how to haul pack goats!
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