Transport calves safely and stress-free

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Calves often have to be moved at a young age, but transportation can bring on a lot of stress —stress that is detrimental to their health and overall well-being. By taking a few precautions, however, a successful ride can be ensured. Consider these tips, from the DCHA Gold Standards III:

  • Newborn calves should be dry, able to stand and at least 24 hours old before transporting.
  • Avoid scheduled procedures such as vaccinating or dehorning for at least one week prior to transport (except for intranasal vaccines, which can be administered to boost interferon levels and help in preventing respiratory disease at the time of shipping).
  • Schedule trips to minimize number of hours cattle are on the truck.
  • In hot weather, schedule hauling at night or in the cooler part of the day.
  • Avoid any unnecessary stops.
  • When hauling in cold weather, cover up to one-half to two-thirds of the holes in the trailer to reduce wind chill. However, do not cover all holes, which would be detrimental to air circulation and quality.
  • Use as many gates as possible in the trailer to keep animals separated in small groups and avoid the possibility of bunching or piling during transportation.
  • When hauling baby calves (less than 10 days of age), stock trailer at 5.5 square feet per calf or greater. Bed deeply with long straw in cold weather.


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