Goat Transportation 101

Goat Transportation 101

So you have decided to buy a few goats to start a herd of your own and now you must decide on the best way to get them home. Well, there are many different choices out there. I think the best choice is to transport your new goats yourself, however, that is not always feasible. It may also be a possibility that the person you are purchasing your goats from would willing to meet you somewhere for a small fee. Ground shipping and Air shipping are also possibilities.

Your choices will depend on the area in which you are shipping to and from. Other choices will depend on the type and size of goat that you are shipping. Still other choices will depend on the weather.


Some breeders will ship via air transport. You will have to purchase an approved airline carrier for your goat. There may be a limit on how many goats are allowed per carrier. Generally two babies will be able to ride together. Many airlines will only transport animals during certain times of the year so be sure to check their policies first. Many people don’t live close to a large airport so this will not be a good option for them.


Other breeders prefer to ground ship their goats. This means that you will need a shipping company. There are several companies out there. Some ship only small livestock while others ship almost anything. Get references if at all possible before you ship anywhere. Make sure that the shipper knows how to care for a goat. Try to ensure that the goat will not be in transit any longer than necessary.


Have you ever heard of a goat train? A goat train is commonly used to ship goats. It is not your typical train. A goat train involves several breeders, all making short pieces of the trip. One breeder may be going to another breeder’s farm and will be able to take your goats to that point. Then another breeder will pick up your goats because they are coming in your direction, maybe to a show. The show may be the meeting place that you can receive your new goats. Get to know breeders in your area, as well as other areas so that you can be aware of any goat trains coming your direction.


No matter which way you decide to get your new goats home, you will need to think of which type of carrier you will bring it home in. They make many different types of carriers and crates in all descriptions and sizes.


Let’s look at some options if you are fortunate enough to haul your own goats home. Many people use a horse trailer or a stock trailer. Both will work nicely. Make sure that the floor is in good shape and all the doors can be secured. Most trailers will have a roof to protect against rain and sun. Make sure the trailer is ventilated. Of course, check your lights before you leave home.


Many people will use a goat tote. A goat tote is a big wire cage that sits in the back of a pickup truck. A tote can haul several goats at once. A cover should be placed over the tote to protect the goat from the elements of the weather. If you have a large goat, sometimes it is helpful to have a ramp to help load the goats into the tote. Trucks tend to sit high up off the ground. Be sure that the tote is anchored down.


Dog carriers are one of the most popular ways to transport your smaller goats. They can be purchased at just about any department store or pet supply. They come in all different sizes. Some are made of all plastic. Some are made of wire. Try to pick a size that will allow your goats the freedom to stand up and turn around. Dog carriers can be placed and secured in the back of a pickup truck. Carriers can also be used inside of vans and suv’s. A small carrier may even fit inside your car. Some breeders use carriers inside their horse and stock trailers. This gives each goat there own space.


I have even seen people turn old cars and vans into what they lovingly refer to as their “goat mobile”. They take out the seats, add some bedding and off they go. You know the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.


Bedding is another important part of transportation. Try to have hay or shavings or some absorbent material in the floor for them. This also helps them not to slip around.


They will need clean fresh water. The best possible choice is to bring some water from home that they are used to drinking.


Of course they will need feed and hay if they will be in transit for any length of time. I prefer to only give hay while transporting mine.


Another to consider is the need for a health certificate. This shows that the goats you are transporting are healthy. The vet will issue this to you for a small fee. It is required in many states before transporting a goat.


Is your goat identified with proper identification? They need a tattoo number, a scrapie tag, or a microchip. Check with your local state requirements.


Once your new friends arrive at your house, ENJOY them.