Transporting Sheep

So you are selling a couple of your sheep or you have bought a few at an auction and you need to give some thought to transporting them.

Sheep should be handled gently and firmly. Never pull a sheep by its wool or by its horns, if it has them. The former is the same as pulling a person by the hair and causes bruising; the latter distresses the animal – horns are sensitive – and the horns can break.

Some say that sheep aren’t stupid ….. but remember that they are prey animals so they behave in such a way as to avoid being a predator’s dinner.

Do not drag sheep or goats with ropes around their necks.

Transport a nursing ewe and her lambs separately from other sheep.

First you need to get a certificate of removal from the seller, along with your receipts of purchase, so that you can prove that the animals have not been stolen.

If you are selling, the form for the certificate can be obtained from your local police station or you can download it from

Use a suitable vehicle for transportation. You can use a bakkie, but unless you have railings around it or a canopy, it will be easy for the sheep to jump out. A trailer with railings would be preferable.

Do not move a sheep in the boot of a car, as there is no ventilation. Do not carry them on the roof of a vehicle.

Do not transport sheep or goats with other species. Avoid overcrowding and keep the vehicle hygienically clean.

Avoid loading in extreme temperatures of the day and night.

Do not tie the legs together or tie the animal to the railings of the bakkie.

Makeshift railings from pallet wood are not suitable, as the sheep can break them.

On arrival at your plot, try to ensure that you have help for offloading. Sheep really are not very bright and they will be nervous, so be prepared for them to rush around mindlessly. Keep dogs inside, unless they are trained sheepdogs, as they are not likely to help the proceedings. Ensure that there is water at hand.

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