Tips for Shipping Cattle
Every time I open the mailbox there is a new cattle sale flyer inside. It is that time of year that there is either a cattle auction or online sale just about every day.
Spring calves are being weaned and are ready to leave the farm. Buying and selling is at its peak.
If you have ever bought a cow from a long distance, one of the most difficult things is figuring out the logistics of getting that new cow to your farm.
If you are close enough or are able to, picking up the cattle yourself is always the best option. However, when you are purchasing across the country, it is not always feasible to have the time or resources to haul the cattle yourself. It is also very expensive to pay for fuel to travel that far to pick up one or two cows.
Professional cattle haulers are very good at coordinating cross country trips to maximize the number of cattle in transit while minimizing the cost for each individual.
In the past several years we have bought cattle from Colorado and Washington. We have used haulers every time. It is just not in the cards to have Daniel drive over 24 hours to pick up a cow, only to turn right back around and drive another 24 hours home.
We have had some good experiences and some not so good experiences. Over the years, we have learned (mostly the hard way) some ways to make the experience better for you, the seller, and most importantly, the cow.
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During the entire process the most important thing is that you communicate. It is so important that everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of them. You are ultimately coordinating at least 3 different people and you should never assume anything. Lay it all out on the line.
You have just spent a lot of money purchasing the future of your farm. Don't let anyone take that for granted.
Before the Sale
Choosing a Hauler
Before the Hauler Arrives
Before the cows are loaded onto the trailer, there are several things we request our sellers to do. We have not always done this and have come to regret it. Some cows may do fine without these precautions...but they are precautions. It is a very stressful time and anything that you can do proactively is just going to help you achieve a successful outcome.
While You are Waiting
The Day You Have Been Waiting For
The day has finally arrived! This has been months...sometimes years in the making.
Buying cattle across the country is a huge decision. Shipping cows can be very stressful and expensive.
Why do we do it? Because sometimes you just need to. Sometimes you need to vary your genetics, maybe you found a really good deal on a cow, or maybe it is just simply that you want THAT cow.
Shipping cattle can be done succesfully if you do your homework and communicate, communicate, communicate. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It is better to know than assume.
Charity and Saxon arrived all the way from Washington in great shape. They were eating and drinking within 15 minutes and have just continued to thrive. We still can't believe what a difference a good hauling situation can make.
We have had some bad experiences with shipping, but this year we had a wonderful experience. We had an initial setback that required some people to make some very difficult decisions, but we trusted their judgment, and looking back wouldn't have done anything differently.
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5/26/2022 02:57:10 pm
You made an interesting point when you mentioned that it is a good idea to give cows an antibiotic before placing them on a trailer. My brother wants to get a trailer for his cattle. I will have to tell my brother that he is going to need to find the right antibiotics for his cattle when he is transporting them.
11/30/2022 02:51:21 pm
It was helpful when you said to get feed for your cattle before they arrive. My cousin was at my house last night for dinner, and he talked about how he plans on getting cattle for his farm sometime next month, so he wanted to make sure he knew how to properly prepare. I'll pass these tips along to him once he finds a place to get cattle from.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.