Length of the Journey and Rest Stops

Livestock Transport News Article - More News2007-08-15

It is a well known fact that transporting livestock is a very stressful experience.  Some of the stresses that livestock will experience are due to loading, unloading, climate changes, unfamiliar sights and sounds, and the length of time that they are traveling.  Many haulers think that allowing the animals to rest during travel will reduce their stress and make the hauling process much easier on them, but this is not always the case.

Rest stops will extend the total time of the journey and it will also expose the animals to more unfamiliar sights and sounds.  The process of unloading and reloading the animals will also cause them to have more stress and increases the risk of them being injured.  Sometimes it is more beneficial to the animal to continue the journey rather than stopping; however, if the journey is extremely long, the animals should be given a rest period before continuing on.

After each 24 hours of travel, a rest period of between twelve and twenty four hours should be provided for all young ruminant animals.  If a full twenty four hour rest period is given, the travel period for these animals may be extended to thirty six hours.  If you are hauling mature ruminant animals, a rest period of twelve to twenty four hours should be provided after every thirty six hours of travel.  If a full twenty four hour rest period is provided, then the total travel time may be extended to forty eight hours. 

When the animals are unloaded for the rest period, they should have access to both food and water and have enough space available to rest and exercise.  Animals that are transported in small groups and are fed and watered in transit should be unloaded and exercised every thirty six hours if there is not room in the vehicle for them to lie down. 

It is important to complete all journeys that involve animals as quickly as possible, but they should be within the limits imposed by rest stops and road safety.  A great amount of care should be taken to avoid prolonged deprivation of feed and water when animals are unloaded after being transported and then reloaded for a further journey.  This time period should not exceed twenty four hours, and if it does, special arrangements should be made to feed and water the animals while they are in the holding area.  This sequence of events is most commonly seen with animals that are transported to sale yards and then transported to the property of the new owners.

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