When Fern and I returned to Oklahoma from Alaska, we were nine years older than we were before we left. Our last dealings with goats and sheep, had been using a nice metal cage that slid into the back of a pickup truck. While this worked fairly well at that time for transporting animals, which didn't happen often, a couple of times a year maybe, it was still difficult to lift a 200 pound ram, that was not at all interested in cooperating into that little cage. We have lots of funny stories about loading lambs and kids. You lift one up and put it in while three escape.
So, when we returned here, we decided to invest in a small stock trailer. In our area, you see brand new aluminum ultralights that are 30 feet long. You also see old, rusted, about to fall apart pull behind trailers. If you wanted to shop for a trailer, you could go down to the livestock sale barn any day, and there are the great big fancy ones, and the not so big not so fancy ones. Well, we decided on a 10 foot, pull behind, general stock trailer. Nothing fancy, no bells and whistles, a nice white color to match our vehicles. In this part of the country, most vehicles are white for solar reasons.
This little stock trailer will haul all the goats we want to haul, ever. It has a step up from the ground into the trailer of about 8 inches, which means one person can step in the trailer and encourage the goat to jump in while another person stands behind the goat and encourages it to jump in. I won't discuss these techniques here, but they work. So, on that rare occasion we buy a new billy, the stock trailer comes in very handy.
We've also transported a few pigs in it, too. Shortly after we moved here we decided to raise a couple of baby pigs. To make the story short, they were easy to load. Just park the little trailer inside their area, put their food and water inside of it for a few nights and one morning we would slide the gate behind them. And a few days later, we would have pork chops and sausage. If this wasn't a trailer story, I would tell you the pig story, but it's not, it's a trailer story.
So, here are some of the ways we use the trailer. When we pick up new animals to bring home, which is seldom, maybe once a year. When we pick up the animals, we give them all the medications they will need at that time, which is a general vaccination, heavy doses of Safeguard (fenbendazole), which is a wormer, and sometimes a big shot of LA200, which is an all purpose antibiotic. The next day, I give them a healthy dose of another type of wormer, Cydectin. I watch these animals closely for three or four days while they are still in the trailer with food, water and hay. This whole process has been done with the trailer in the barn, out of the sun, and near the other goats. When I feel the animal is relatively safe, I will move it to an isolated pen. I put a wether with the goat for companionship. If it's a female I will leave it isolated for a couple of weeks, then put her in with the other does. If it's a billy, we keep him separate with the wethers until it's time for breeding.
Back to the trailer. After we let the animals out, the trailer is cleaned inside and out, put back outside to dry in the sun. We also use the trailer for an occasional hospital. Again, we put the trailer in the barn, and if the animal needs to be confined, we do food, water, hay and whatever appropriate medications are needed. We've only had to do this a few times, but we have had a couple of down animals. It gives them a nice safe place out of the weather, and still around the other goats. After the hospital stay is over, the trailer is again cleaned, inside and out, and left to dry in the sun.
Now this next part may surprise a few people. My stock trailer is clean. I can go out tomorrow and hook it up, pull it to one of the big box stores, like Sam's Club or Costco, and it will haul a tremendous amount of supplies. Now, it's not water
tight by any means, so it has to be on a nice day, but it works great for that purpose. I have two padlocks on my trailer, one for the back gate/sliding gate and one for the side entrance, which will keep out just about anybody. I know sometimes it surprises people to see a stock trailer at the big box store. It's clean, it's tidy and it's secure. More than once, I have parked my truck and trailer in front of the house, and unloaded it the next day.
When we bought this trailer this was part of the original purpose. It also comes in handy when I want to go to a store like Lowe's and buy multiple heavy items. If need be, I can haul two or three large cows. If need be, I can haul two good sized horses, but I doubt if either one of these ever occur. But I can haul 7000 pounds of assorted supplies, 10 foot in length, and sometimes longer sticking out of the top of the gate in the back.
It's a plain, white, simple, multipurpose stock trailer that just doesn't draw attention. In this part of the country, you will see stock trailers everyday, and there's nothing fancy about mine that will attract attention. I think it's one of the best buys we have made. It saves our backs and it means I only have to go major shopping once or twice a year. The truck and trailer will fit in two lengthwise parking places. It will go through most drive through windows. It's the same width as my pickup and it does not attract attention, and it works. I could hook it up right now and drive it everywhere I want to go for the next couple of days and few people would even notice it. This is just one more way to make life more simple and better. Hope you enjoyed the story.
Something I forgot. Safety. A small trailer like the one I just described above, you can just about forget it's behind you when driving down a highway. Since I only pull a trailer a handful of times a year, it would be easy to forget that it's back there. My point here is, when you pass somebody going down the highway, and you forget your trailer is behind you and you pull over too soon, you can hurt yourself or you can hurt somebody else. Other points to consider. Most small trailers like this, empty, weigh about 1000 pounds. Going down a flat road, on a dry sunny day, it still takes more braking distance. Where I live we have lots of hills and some small mountains. Let's say I have a payload of 2000 pounds. My trailer weighs 1000. Okay, I've got 3000 pounds behind me, going down a hill, trying to brake can very easily get dangerous not to mention if there is sand, gravel, rain or snow on the road. I avoid driving a trailer on wet roads. This is one of those cases, if you don't know what you're doing, don't do it.
You can very easily find yourself off the road. Or like a friend of mine lately, found his trailer hanging off the edge of the road with his vehicle still attached. It's not a joke folks, you can kill yourself, or you can kill somebody else. When you're turning a corner, give yourself extra room. When you're leaving a parking lot, that trailer will follow you when you turn, but it takes a slightly different path. And backing a trailer can be a real learning experience. But for the most part, where you go the trailer goes. People do make mistakes. Example: A friend of mine managed to hit a tree in his own yard with his trailer. Around here they have a name for that, but we'll go on from there. So, no joke, a trailer can be a great tool, just don't let it get the best of you. So, again, take care, may God be with you.
We'll talk more later. Frank