Going into Goats: A practical guide to producing goats in the rangelands

Transportation of goats

Transportation is a critical stage in the goat production process and one which must be carefully planned and managed. Transportation usually has a good outcome if animals are in the best possible condition prior to transport and best practice is adopted en route.

Important considerations include:

  • Handling
  • Transport vehicles
  • Distance and travel duration
  • Legislative requirements and obligations

For a more comprehensive overview of this important subject, readers are referred to the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines Land Transport of Livestock, Edition 1, December 2008.

Animal handling

Goat handling in the lead up to transportation is critical to ensuring that goats arrive at their destination in the best possible condition. Goats should not be held in yards for extended periods prior to transport and should be provided with good quality feed and water up to the point of transportation. Other considerations include:

  • Always handle the goats to be transported in a calm and quiet manner.
  • Allow strange animals to mix with and become accustomed to each other well before being loaded.
  • Do not load sick, tired or weak animals with strong, healthy goats and make sure all goats are fit to load.
  • Female animals that are obviously pregnant should not be transported as they may abort their kids or give birth prematurely because of the stress of transport.
  • Bucks and does should be separated for trucking.
  • Be sure to abide by any curfews that may be in place.
Transport vehicles

When transporting goats, ensure that the vehicle is appropriate for the task. Important considerations include:

  • The floor of the transport vehicle must be solid and easy to clean.

  • The floor of the transport vehicle must be fitted with raised ridges to stop the goats from slipping and injuring themselves.

  • The sides of the vehicle should be high enough to prevent the goats from jumping out.

  • There must be no spaces between the floor and the side panels and any partitions. A goat might get its leg caught in this space and break its leg.

  • Goats on the vehicle should not be loaded either too loosely or too tightly because this may increase the risk of injury. In general, over-loading is the greater risk to livestock welfare. The numbers per pen should be sufficient to provide stability for the class of goat and the intended journey.

  • There should be partitions in the crate of the vehicle to limit the movement of the animals during transportation. This will minimise the risk of goats losing their footing if the truck is forced to stop suddenly.

  • Partitions should also be used to separate goats differing greatly in size, horned animals from those without horns and bucks from other bucks.

  • There must be no sharp points or corners in the area of the vehicle where the goats will travel.

  • There should be no loose articles, for example shovels, carried with the animals.

  • The vehicle must have proper ventilation so that the goats receive fresh air.

  • The vehicle should provide protection against bad weather (for example, rain or strong winds) and should provide shade against the sun.

  • Do not overload the vehicle. A goat of liveweight 40kg requires 0.22m2 space which equates to 136 goats on a deck of 12.5m length by 2.4m width.

Distance and travel length
  • Goats should not be transported by road for more than 36 hours from the time of loading. If goats are to be transported for more than 36 hours, they need to be offloaded at intervals of not more than 24 hours and be allowed to rest and recover for 12 hours before being transported further. The goats must be provided with feed and clean water during the rest period.

  • The route should be carefully planned for extended trips where watering and feeding may be required.

  • The goats being transported should be inspected not later than 30 minutes after the start of the journey and then at least every two hours to check that none of the goats has fallen or has its head or foot stuck.

Legislative requirements and obligations

There are a number of legislative and industry obligations for the movement of livestock within Australia that apply to the movement of rangeland goats:

  • All managed goats must be tagged with an approved NLIS (Sheep) ear tag (including rangeland goats that have been subjected to some form of husbandry procedure).

  • Each consignment must be accompanied by a fully completed LPA NVD/Waybill (Goats) or a transported stock statement and goat health statement.

  • All mob-based movements must be recorded on the NLIS database.

Chapter 1: Business management of this guide provides further information regarding legislative and industry obligations, as well as local state departments of primary industries contacts.