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Inevitably I am going to face this issue. I thought I still had a few years, but looking at my schedule over at least the next year I came to the frightening realization that I will be away from the farm A LOT more than I will be home. Fortunately my DH is great with the animals, but he's thinking that he may prefer SC to NV. We have property at both locations, and he's leaning towards packing up and moving the farm east.

The realist in me that deals with the bottom line says it would be easiest to sale the herd and start over. The emotional side of me is not convinced. I've raised a lot of these goats from their first breaths, I've sat up with some of them through long nights nursing them back from death's door, I've helped them through rough kiddings, and I've grieved with them when things have gone bad. Beyond that, I've culled, selectively bred, and put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into getting the herd I wanted. Sure it's not perfect, but it's a work in progress and square one seems a long ways back.

So, for all the rambling is it practical to haul a bunch (I MIGHT be able to get it down to my best/favorite 20) of goats across the country? Is it even right for the goats who will undoubtably be stressed to their limits for at least a four day trip? Are there professional goat haulers who would haul this far?

I've done the trip with horses, but horses seem a lot more resilant to travel. I think one of my biggest concerns beyond the stress is the dramatic diet change. Most of my goats have been dry lot goats their entire lives. Beyond occasional tree clippings, they have never had access to green anything. Heck, they've never even seen green. Their diet consists of straight alfalfa and loose minerals. I've looked into alfalfa prices in SC, and there is no way I could go there. When they get where they are going, we could keep them confined in a plowed up pen and slowly introduce them to grazing, but I have no idea short of keeping them in the trailer to limit their access to green stuff in the road while they are traveling and a consistent diet is at it's most important.

Sorry for the long post. Any ideas or thoughts on this would be fantastic. Am I completely insane to even consider turning their lives upside down like this? I don't think I would even consider the opposite trip, but it seems like converting them from dry lot goats to "real" goats would ultimately provide them with a better quality of life anyway.
 

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I'm watching you
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This guy has a very good reputation with the packgoat group. He is very experienced at moving herds :)
I don't see a problem with the diet change. Just do it slow. After all my boys diet changes with every hike.

http://www.travelwithronk.com/
 

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After all my boys diet changes with every hike.
I want to find out what you mean by this. A bajillion questions but finding out what you mean may slow the barrage of questions I have in my head. I had a small suprize hike with my goats today and I must say, everybody thoroughly enjoyed it. Must learn more about this.

BTW, I liked your post because of the link you gave. You guys NEVER cease to amaze me with resourceful answers.
 

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I totally disagree that horses haul better than goats. If you haul your whole herd (or part of your herd) they will feel (and actually be) among friends and they will do just fine. Most goats lay down. Bed them deep and let them sleep. No way would I feel sorry for them. Stop every so often and see if they will drink water. I put a hay feeder up right in the trailer. Goats are good haulers. Bring some hay from your old home with you. Take 'em with.
 

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The realist in me that deals with the bottom line says it would be easiest to sale the herd and start over.

Yeah, but I don't think you're one for taking the 'easy' way out.

The emotional side of me is not convinced. I've raised a lot of these goats from their first breaths, I've sat up with some of them through long nights nursing them back from death's door, I've helped them through rough kiddings, and I've grieved with them when things have gone bad. Beyond that, I've culled, selectively bred, and put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into getting the herd I wanted. Sure it's not perfect, but it's a work in progress and square one seems a long ways back.

They don't have perfect to mean something - especially to you . These are your goats, they should be with you.

So, for all the rambling is it practical to haul a bunch (I MIGHT be able to get it down to my best/favorite 20) of goats across the country? Is it even right for the goats who will undoubtably be stressed to their limits for at least a four day trip? Are there professional goat haulers who would haul this far?

Absolutely! They will be stressed, but no more than you and your husband. It will work out ok. Give them as much room as you can, stop now and then if possible, they will be fine. I'm sure there are, but I don't know who or where.

I've done the trip with horses, but horses seem a lot more resilant to travel. I think one of my biggest concerns beyond the stress is the dramatic diet change. Most of my goats have been dry lot goats their entire lives. Beyond occasional tree clippings, they have never had access to green anything. Heck, they've never even seen green. Their diet consists of straight alfalfa and loose minerals. I've looked into alfalfa prices in SC, and there is no way I could go there. When they get where they are going, we could keep them confined in a plowed up pen and slowly introduce them to grazing, but I have no idea short of keeping them in the trailer to limit their access to green stuff in the road while they are traveling and a consistent diet is at it's most important.

Horses get just as stressed by travel as goats do. They just handle it differently, not necessarily better. Diet change is not that big of a deal - if all else fails, it's hard to go wrong with straight grass hay. If possible, take a load of whatever hay they are eating now with you. Transition them to the new hay using that. Once you have accomplished that, it's a piece of cake to transition them to green stuff. The time of year will have eliminated lush, spring grass and that is where most of the danger comes in.

Sorry for the long post. Any ideas or thoughts on this would be fantastic. Am I completely insane to even consider turning their lives upside down like this? I don't think I would even consider the opposite trip, but it seems like converting them from dry lot goats to "real" goats would ultimately provide them with a better quality of life anyway.
No, I truly do not think you are insane for considering it, or for doing it. To me, the insanity would be to have spent so much time building your herd to where you have it, then just walking away. That is insanity!

As far as hauling them goes, try this link. http://www.livestock-transport.com/
 

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2 weeks ago we had to move from texas to florida which is a 1200 mile ride. I was thinking the same thing about starting over but we went with a well established horse mover and she stopped every 4 hours so the goats would get up and drink water and eat hay. Well they were delivered and its like nothing changed for them. Everyone is still as healthy as they left texas and we are milking this morning as I type this....long story short find someone who will stop every few hours and has a good trailer.. The lady who ,over mine said they would all lay down as soon as the truck started moving ( it was kinda of a cool set up she had wireless cameras in her trailer so she knew what her load was doing at all times)
 

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Goat Girl
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I moved my goats from AZ to OK. They did fine on the trip and were very happy with all the new grass and trees they could eat. They handled the diet change just fine.
 

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That really should be no big deal. It is done all the time. Find a good hauler and your goats will be just fine.
 

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the best advice is prepare...stop often ... have meds ready so you dont have to shop for what you need...

B complex for stress
Thiamine
cd antitoxin
antibiotics
scourhalt ( no fun to have a pen mate with the trotts)
baycox

give everyone worm booster and B complex before you head out..bring hay from your source to make the change of food easier on their tummies..
Take lots of pix to remember the trip : )
Goat-link.com has an article about her big move with 100+ goats and sheep...check it out
 

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The farm that Hope began
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My bosses moved from Idaho to Texas with their goat herd. Really the biggest problems came afterward - adjusting these girls to the very VERY different climate and battling the much more difficult parasite problems we face in this area.
 

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I'm getting ready to take my seven goats from AZ to NC. Its going to be a long trip for all of us. I've moved goats from NC to MS a few times and I moved from MS to AZ with goats. Mine personally didn't eat or drink much the entire way but they made it just fine. Goats don't travel as well as say dogs but they do fine. My goats hauled better on a 12 hour drive as my horses did on a three hour haul.
 

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A 4 hour haul is a piece of cake, no need to hire transport.
Like Tim said they will be with their buddies.
Its 4 days not hours. But regardless I think they'll be fine. I've taken two goats for three full days and two nights in a 4x5 plywood box in a motor home with no AC(85-90 inside we were all baking). I was only able to let them out of the box twice since I couldn't lift them out and no one would help me. After the first day they just went with the flow. The last picture is on the third day. They don't look too stressed do they?


 

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A 4 hour haul is a piece of cake, no need to hire transport.
Like Tim said they will be with their buddies.
Its 4 days not hours. But regardless I think they'll be fine. I've taken two goats for three full days and two nights in a 4x5 plywood box in a motor home with no AC(85-90 inside we were all baking). I was only able to let them out of the box twice since I couldn't lift them out and no one would help me.




Not only was there a long travel but they went form completely on pasture to completely on a dry lot. They are more resilient to travel and change then most people think.
 

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you've got some good advice here already.

I've never transported goats for more than 20 mins....but remember back in the day sailors would transport goats on ships for weeks or months on the OCEAN....and there are still goats all over the world because of this! I think your babies will be fine!
 

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I've taken two goats for three full days and two nights in a 4x5 plywood box in a motor home with no AC(85-90 inside we were all baking).
Beep and his buddy said:
Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Wow. Where there's a will, there's a way.
 
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