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txbikergirl Posted - Mar 01 2015 : 6:46:40 PM
Lover boy and I can borrow several neighbors' cattle trailers, but we have budgeted for our own so are starting to look for a used cattle trailer. A few questions, and some thoughts we have (as much as they are worth from inexperienced cattle folk):

- Planning on solid 3/4 sidewalls so it can be a year-round trailer.
- Planning on solid roof
- Know to look for rust issues, floor replacement issues, bad tires/brakes/electrical (lover boy is super handy so can do all that)
- we are looking for a cattle trailer, not just a modified trailer

So the question part:
1. At least 12' or 16'? to accommodate a few cows?

2. Should we go with gooseneck? The only reason I am hesitating there is we have so many trailers, and I am just not as comfortable backing up, etc with a gooseneck. Lover boy is great with any type. I'm normally fearless about anything in life, but lets just acknowledge that although i am a very good driver I am truly lousy at backing up and turning corners with attached trailers.

3. do they all have dividers? and what is "calf cradle" - just what it sounds like?

What other advice to y'all have for us?? we have time now to find something before Miss Sally O'Mally heads south. i don't know yet if we'll be fetching her home or taking advantage of the good contact MJ has for us, but want to be prepared regardless.
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farmlife Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 1:51:02 PM
Extra points for spelling "colostrum" at a young age! Stupid is temporary, Cindy. :) The more you do the more you will learn. At least I hope it's temporary. I think sometimes I'm still making stupid decisions. Lol!
maryjane Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 12:56:35 PM
On it!
Mike Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 11:52:32 AM
I picture a bull and a cow sitting in rocking chairs. He's smoking a pipe and listening to the old fashioned radio and reading Hoard's Dairyman. She's busy with her needlework. Two calves/children playing with blocks, spelling out 'alfalfa', 'milk', 'colostrum', etc. Or playing Scrabble!! Old wood cookstove and kerosene lamps.

Now there's a project for ya'll to stage for a cover photo!!!!!
Mike Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 11:49:10 AM
Might not have lost my wit....or half wit. But I did lose my mind. I forgot the most important fact. With a sliding combination door you can back right up to a loading chute. With the swinging door you have to pull the trailer ahead with the gate open and try to keep everyone inside the trailer with prayer, while you run back and swing the gate shut... 'wishing' a critter to stand still when there's six feet of open space for them to run outside and play in does NOT work. With trained horses, no problem, loading and unloading is part of life. Cows.......pigs.... cats?????? Good luck.
txbikergirl Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 11:10:40 AM
thanks Keeley, i appreciate all that and agree with you. but you know how as a newbie there is so much you don't know, that you are hoping you don't make a really stupid decision? like buying a trailer without wheels because it never occurred to you you'd have to take it somewhere?? if i can eliminate the really stupid decisions then i can live with everything else afterwards ;>

we are definitely not looking at recent vintage, we want something solid and sound and better made. and it is amazing what your dollar can buy if you don't mind the looks so much and just want the solid structure and mechanics.
farmlife Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 11:00:50 AM
We have a 1972 two horse horse trailer. We got it because it didn't have anything fancy like "modern" horse trailers and had one big door on the back instead of two, which we thought would be easier for loading cows. (Plus the price was right.) The pole divider down the middle can be removed and it has a rubber mat on the floor for easy cleaning. It's structurally sound, but not really pretty. It seems to do the job. Just do the best you can, Cindy, and try not to get too caught up in the pros and cons. You won't know until you use it what works best. You can always sell it down the road if it doesn't seem to work for you. Do look for good tires, brakes, etc. if you can. That can add up fast.
CloversMum Posted - Jun 23 2015 : 09:16:21 AM
Your cow is going to be one spoiled cow! All your wise preparations and decisions are really going to pay off.
txbikergirl Posted - Jun 22 2015 : 7:17:17 PM
ok, at least mike hasn't lost his wit with the foot injury ;> it too made me laugh out loud.

i think we'll pass on the horse trailer. the tack room was such a draw, but given that the two stock trailers we are looking at have the divider all the way to the floor and also have the rear door that opens either fully or with the slider thing it means it is ready to go today without alteration.

the rest of the trailer specs are the same for both the stock or horse trailers so all else is equal. lover boy wins on this one, i think he was thinking clearer than i. thanks for all the comments, we appreciate y'all greatly!
CloversMum Posted - Jun 22 2015 : 08:34:00 AM
Cindy, I think the biggest issue is to adapt the dividers so that they go to the floor. The dividers in our horse trailer are not made for cows and the cows can get under them, especially if they get spooked and then injuries can occur. We've had a horse trailer with two hinged doors that come together and that was nice to be able to have one locked. But a lots of times it was nice to have a bigger opening for the cow to be coaxed through or into. Betsy is a pro at stepping up and down out of a trailer, no need for a ramp. Clover would do better with a ramp as it takes a bit more coaxing with her. I think, mainly, it is just training and exposure. We used the horse trailer as a temporary shelter for Betsy when she first got here and she had to step up into the trailer any time she wanted shelter. She learned it was no big deal. We never did that with Clover.

I'd love an escape door, but our does not have that. Although I suppose one could be added at some point.

Sounds like you are making great strides! Post pics when you purchase one!
maryjane Posted - Jun 22 2015 : 05:52:50 AM
Mike, your needlework, coffee-making cow comment gave me a good laugh this morning.

Cindy, I've never worked with trailer doors other than two hinged doors that come together, leaving the possibility that one could stay locked while coaxing a cow in or out. I do have a ramp that I like but it isn't necessary. Just less coaxing:) Love an escape door.
Mike Posted - Jun 21 2015 : 8:09:18 PM
The combo rear door is worth the effort to find. One issue loading a stubborn creature makes a real believer out of you. If the world was full of Maryjane trained cattle that can make coffee and do needlework, a swinging door is fine. Otherwise the rodeo aspect of cattle loading gets old fast.

Mike's happy house of gory photos :)
txbikergirl Posted - Jun 21 2015 : 5:07:43 PM
hi everyone. we are getting close to our trailer purchase, we have a couple of choices. please speak up with any advice.

one we saw today and liked is a 3 horse slant, all the others we have looked at are stock trailers. no matter what we get it will have a hard metal top and be the type that are about 2/3 solid wall (we are in the south so there aren't many fully enclosed trailers here - the animals would suffocate 9 months out of the year).

so - i know that with the horse trailer we would need to modify one of the partitions so that it goes all the way to the floor as many have commented. but this trailer has good floor, good mats, good tires, solid condition all around (lover boy is the can do mechanic).

the one thing the horse trailer doesn't have is the nice sliding rear gate. the rear is one big door, whereas in the stock trailers we are looking at they have the combo that can be opened either as the full door or just half of it slid open. is not having this an issue? impractical?

it does have the front escape door, as well as the tack room which of course is a lovely bonus. but lover boy is leaning away from horse trailer as thinks the inconvenience of altering the separator means we should just get the cattle trailer with the nice separator to the floor and the nice rear combo door.

all the trailers we are looking at are 16' or 20'. bumper pull.

anything else we need to think of? keep in mind we will only buy used as we won't pay new prices. we'll be paying someone else to bring our prized possession out this way, so this trailer will just be the "local" trailer as needed. of course fast forward three years and i may have gone completely over the cow deep end and traveling back and forth to idaho to visit and buy more cows ;> so i don't mean to imply we are buying something that is only safe for local use, any trailer we get will be solid and steady and worthy of road tripping - it will just have bumps and bruises that make it much less cheaper than a shiny new one.

and charlene - i know you use a 3 horse slant so please give me your two cents worth.

thanks everyone - i appreciate y'all!
txbikergirl Posted - Mar 13 2015 : 6:47:35 PM
very helpful MJ, thank you. i also received the email you sent me on used cattle trailers. when we win the lotto we'll buy one of the fully outfitted house on wheel models ;>
maryjane Posted - Mar 06 2015 : 06:24:34 AM
Features I've been grateful for are bull panels that go to the floor on the dividers. They were a special order item on mine. Otherwise, with the various different sized animals I have, I'd be worrying about injury--a leg caught under the panel.

I also like a wooden plank floor covered with black matting. It's easy to clean after every use and can't rust (fatal problem with most of the used trailers I looked at). Once the wood rots, you peel the mats back and replace it.

Aluminum is good.

Windows that open and close and have screens.

I also special ordered a ramp on mine--makes it easier to load animals. Mine is a Charmac horse trailer, made here in Idaho,

I also love a front "escape" door. Hubby mounted two plastic coated chains across it so I can duck-out-the-back-jack after coaxing a bull in with grain but he can't follow me out the door easily. The chains stop him for enough a minute that I can get the door shut behind me and then go around while he's eating and lock him into his bay.
txbikergirl Posted - Mar 02 2015 : 4:42:05 PM
thanks ron, that is very helpful. Its those little things that a newbie like us won't think of.
Ron Posted - Mar 02 2015 : 05:27:27 AM
No smaller than 16'. If you buy used make sure the wheel bearings have been greased or packed recently.
Not too high in the rear for entry or a ramp is good. Definatly a good floor. Some folks use wood which is common but can cause splinters big time.
Also anything used or borrowed should be disinfected big time. Some little bacteria can live and multiply in cracks or crevice .
maryjane Posted - Mar 02 2015 : 12:32:59 AM
Just heading off for a few winks. Will give you my two cents worth soon!