Books on Wallabies: HYPERLINK “http://www.wxicof.com” www.wxicof.com or HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com Alternative Livestock Q & A (5-03) Can you give me some travel tips for my animals? I am trailering them to a show in another state and want to make the trip go smoothly. There are several very practical things that you can do to decrease the stress on an animal as it is moved out of its normal environment.
One of the most important things is to give a careful “going over” to the trailer itself.
I heard a horror story about a man who loaded his horse into a trailer that had been sitting outside all winter.
Unbeknownst to him one of the floor boards was rotten.
After he was on the road his good sized horse stepped on just the right place on the board.
Its foot broke through and dragged on the pavement for miles.
You can imagine the results! So, make sure that the equipment is sound, ie floor solid, clean, and has either mats or other material for secure footing.
Check the tie off areas to insure that the hooks are out of the way and that there are no jagged wires, nails, or screws that might hurt an animal as it moves around in this confined area.
Always double check to make sure your trailer is completely connected to the truck with all devices properly placed before you start off on your trip.
You don’t want to start down the driveway and suddenly have the horse and trailer head off through the pasture separated from the truck.
It is a good idea to pull up for several yards then stop.
Have someone help you judge if the trailer is tracking properly and that all the lights are working correctly.
Test all doors until they are firmly closed. Animals can be trained to enter a trailer easily if you don’t wait until the last minute.
Several weeks before your departure begin leading the animal to the trailer.
Let it approach the vehicle at its own pace, sniff, walk around it, whatever it wants to do.
A lead rope can be looped around its haunches to gently encourage it to go forward.
Entice it with special food to enter the trailer then feed its normal daily ration in the trailer.
Positive reinforcements do a lot to obtain the behavior you want.
Keep doing this until you are successful in having it go into the trailer with minimal drawbacks. Always travel with an animal first aid kit.
Have extra leads and halters in case one breaks.
Wrap your animals legs if you so desire for extra protection.
Make sure you have blankets to protect the animal from getting dirty or from cold weather safely attached, and look in on your animal periodically.
Depending upon how long the trip is you might want to stop in an appropriate place and exercise your livestock.
Try to avoid stopping near heavy traffic as unusual noises (horns, brakes, etc.) might spook your animal.
If possible, carry the hay, feed and water that your animal is accustomed to with you.
I have heard of animals becoming dehydrated because they would not drink strange tasting or smelling water when they were at a show.
I recently heard a good suggestion.
A month before you plan to travel, begin putting dry lemonade mix in your animal’s water so that it will be familiar with the taste.
Then when you travel take the lemonade mix with you and put it in the water at the show which will then taste like the water from home! The more experiences you can expose your livestock to before the show (being petted by strange people, being tied for extended periods of time, balancing in a moving trailer, etc.) the better the experience will be.
Remember to talk calmly to your animal and reward good behavior.
Hope you win a blue ribbon! Q.
Are camels hard to raise? A.
Well, I would venture to say that they might not be the easiest animals to raise.
Since a fully grown camel can weigh over 1500 pounds and live for 40 years, adding them to your farm might entail significant adjustments and a high degree of commitment long-term to the breed. The two types are the one-humped dromedary and the two-humped Bactrian.
They are basically cared for in the same way you would worm and vaccinate a cow or llama and fed the same type of feed you would offer any other bovine or camelid family member.
They are large animals which might necessitate higher and stronger fences than are found on a normal hobby farm.
One breeder tells of a male which jumped fences during breeding season and wreaked havoc on their farm.
They are hardy animals and intelligent.
Camels are said to “hold grudges” and have a long memory when they are “mistreated” which in their estimation could include veterinary care! They usually have a single calf which reaches maturity at five years of age.
It is a good idea to purchase either a trained adult or a young baby which is being bottle fed in order to get one that is gentle.
They sometimes do damage to things by chewing on them and some are considered to be mean.
However, I’m sure you have seen the well behaved ones at zoos offering rides to children, so don’t stereotype the breed.
If you are drawn to camels, do a lot of research.
Contact reputable breeders and check out some of the resources listed in this column, then prepare well and “follow your heart.” American Camel Club Association and Registry, Ltd. 185 Leavitt Road Oswego, NY 13126 HYPERLINK “mailto:CookCamel@aol.com” CookCamel@aol.com
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