Questions about humane, long-distance shipping

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by willow_girl, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I am looking at moving from Michigan to PA (about 450 miles) sometime in the next 6 months. I plan to take my 4 cows (3 Holsteins and a Jersey) with me. The cows all are currently dry and 3 out of the 4 are bred. Two (both Holsteins) are aged -- both about 10. One of the old girls is bred. All are in good shape. They were bull bred and could be due anywhere between April and late July.

    I want to ship them in the most humane and comfortable manner possible.

    I'm not sure whether it would be best to ship them dry or wait until after calving.

    I'm thinking it would be best to wait until spring, but not so late that they're standing in a hot trailer all day?

    What else do I need to take into consideration? Any and all suggestions welcome ... I have never done this before ... thanks!
     
  2. Oldguy

    Oldguy Well-Known Member

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    Your probably don't want to put the calves in the same trailer as the cows. They fall during shipment unless packed in tight and even then they lose footing and hit the floor. Calf wouldn't survive that very well.
     

  3. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would ship them dry if possible, when you ad calves that increases the likely hood of one getting hurt. If you have to ship them after they calve the best way is to seperate them during shipment. With only having to ship them 450 miles you will not need to stop and unload them during the trip, they'll handle that distance easily. Just have feed and water available when they arrive, you may want to have hay and water available during shipping if that's possible.

    Bobg
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Giving them shots for shipping fever would be a good precaution. I would ship them while dry, and if possible 5 weeks or more before calving due dates.
    You could make arrangements to water them in trailer halfway and throw them a flake of hay as they are older cows, but 450 miles they should be in trailer no more than 9 1/2 hours so they should do fine.
     
  5. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They should ship with no problem, but like Up North says, not too close to their freshening date. Shipping close to when they are due could make them calve early. Make sure they are up on their vaccinations because they'll be in new territory, too.

    Jennifer
     
  6. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    All of the above, plus lots of sand in the bottom of the trailer with straw over top. I'd also be tempted to stop a couple of times and toss some dry sand or shavings over any wet spots so they still have some traction.
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Thanks everybody and keep those suggestions coming!!! :)
     
  8. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not critical with this sort of trip, but it is always a good idea to give them a good dose of B12 after the trip. I would also recomend getting them a good bellyfull of good clean grass hay before any grain and then work any grain ration back up slowly. Rumen probiotic will also help them get started again.
     
  9. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    Check into what kind of Out Of State Health Permits you may need for the transfer.
     
  10. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    I brought a 36 foot trailer full of Registered Texas Longhorn cows, calves, and a bull up from South Texas to Missouri in warm weather and had no troubles what so ever, just drove straight thru. The herd was certified free of bangs but nobody ever asked for any of the papers. The trailer had cattle panels fastened to the floor to keep the animals from sliding around. My 2¢ worth.
     
  11. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    When we moved from Taupo to Kaitaia, a distance of 600kms which is about what your looking at, we brought ALL our stock with us and they all went on the one truck. We moved at the beginning of April which is pretty much the end of our summer so wasn't too hot, some of the cows were in milk, others were in calf, the ram had just gone out with the ewes. There was a sow with 11 x 3 day old piglets, as well as 6 other breeding sows, 2 boars and a bull.

    It was a 9 hour trip for them and every last one walked off the truck :) The in-milk cows were milked in the morning and went straight onto the truck from the shed. They missed the evening milking and the following morning so were a bit uncomfortable but their production didn't drop at all despite the missed milkings and trauma involved in moving.

    While I hated doing it, the pigs weren't fed the night before and the sheep and cattle were yarded to empty out and I would advice anybody to truck stock with an empty stomach. Pigs suffer from travel sickness and will vomit. Cattle and sheep travel much easier if they're not slipping and sliding in their own muck - and following traffic is much happier when not travelling in a green slipstream. I would definately not feed or water during the trip.

    If your looking at going within the next 6 months and the cows are due to calve anywhere between April and July, I think I would do the trip sooner rather than later. I would personally rather take them dry rather than with calves at foot. However, if it doesn't pan out that way, the calves will travel quite well; I just get worried about calves in trucks.

    May I ask to what you are moving on to? or have I missed something.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Thanks again for the additional! :)

    I checked with the state vet, and all they need to have is a TB test within 60 days of shipping out of state.

    Ronnie, in answer to your question, my husband and I split up last year, and I have since become involved with a great guy who lives in Pennsylvania! He has a much better job than I do, so it looks like I'll have to be the one to pull up stakes and move cross-country in order to make this work! :)

    Right now, I am trying desperately to find an affordable farm, and a new job, in his area! Luckily, I got a lead on a position in the dairy industry out there, and just followed up on it yesterday ... ya'll keep your fingers crossed for me!

    I will be applying with the DHI in eastern Ohio, too ... I would hate to have to go back to an office job after all this time! :(
     
  13. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    so you're making the big move! congrats, willow!! somehow i had the idea that your new feller was in TX. a bit confused as to why you were going to PA, but i get it now. :)
     
  14. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    21 hours is what it took for the trucker we use, that move someone elses animals in the 90 degree heat to northern Wisconsin from NY. They drove non-stop, but they watered them several times along the way, they fed them along the way. There was 12-13 on the trailer I beleive, and all made it. They weren't clean when they arrived, but they did make it.



    So yes 450 miles can be done, especially if a haul from eastern NY to northern Wisconsin.

    Not only that, many do show at World Dairy Expo, and many do come from the east coast, they move them to and fro. Just make sure the trucker cares about his load.


    Jeff
     
  15. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Willow, I wasn't aware of that but wish you the very best in your change of direction. It's a huge decision to uproot and in it's own way will be as traumatic for you as it will be for your cows. Good luck with your hunt for a farm (what are you looking for?) and a job.

    Jeff, we have laws here that govern how long stock can remain on a truck and from memory I think it's 12 hours. After that they have to be off-loaded, fed and watered. It's usually worked so that stock can rest overnight before being loaded again. Most long distance travel done by stock here is dairy cows. Come June, which is the start of the dairying season, the roads a full of stock trucks moving sharemilkers and their cows from one farm to another and some will be travelling over 2,000kms plus a ferry trip from one island to another. Because these cows are in-calf (at least the farmer hopes they are), the welfare code for transporting stock can be quite stringent. I don't know whether it applies there, but over here all stock trucks must be fitted with effluent tanks and there are depots through the country where there can be emptied.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  16. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    I personally think moving your stock before the heat of the summer is best-- whereabouts in PA are you headed? I am not far from the Pa border-- lot's of land and potential small farm sites here. have you seen Ron K's site? He moved a bunch of sheep for the owner of the Barbados Blackbelly onsortium from NC to Colorado, and took such good care of them, they actually gained weight during transport. I haven't heard anything negative about the care the animals recieve, and his site has the up to date requirements for transport. Also-- perhaps a shipper will come out your way, and pick up your critters on the return-- or do you want to drive them yourself? you may very well need a CDL for that now----