Sunday, June 17, 2012

Have Crate, Will Travel

We're planning on adding a new Cotswold ram for this coming breeding season.  We'll be getting him shortly from Ewetopia Farm and keep him in quarantine (not that I have any doubts about this farm, it's just our protocol) for about 4 weeks. One option would be to bring him home in the back of the pickup.  This isn't optimal since we have to have the sliding windows open for air and the screens are super flimsy and would get pushed out by a big curious nose in two seconds, and also because we'd have to cobble together a barrier to keep him from the big back window anyway.  It doesn't make sense to drag our trailer all that way for one animal, especially with gas prices what they are and the dismal gas mileage the Dodge gets when hauling it.  Livestock equipement companies like Sydell have useful crates designed specifically to transport one or a few animals in the back of a pickup, but the sizes weren't particularly compatible with the bed of my truck and they're meant to be used with an open truck bed.  My truck cap is really not meant to be removed.

So, armed with measurements and ideas we approached our friend and neighbor, Red, to see if he could weld up what we needed - a sturdy crate that would fit into the truck with the cap on. Of course he could.

Custom transport crate by Red

The crate completely comes apart into 5 flat panels for easy storage when not being used.  It weighs maybe 70 lbs assembled, so two people can lift and slide it into the truck bed with no problem.  And in a clever stroke of innovation, there are NO separate pins, rods or clips used to assemble it so you can't. lose. parts.  Very important, at least for me!

Sliding door, mounted on rollers inside frame to prevent pushing out

Door latch pin attached by short length of light chain

Pins attached to crate top fit down into cylinders welded to back and side panel corners

Side, front and back panels also have pin and cylinder arrangement

A single larger chain link welded to the front and back corners of the side panels give a place to attach a tie to the tie-down points in the truck bed so there will be no sliding of the crate during transport.  If any sheep get rambunctious while we're driving we don't need to have the crate move around and hit the cap window and break it. 

This will be a great piece of equipment and I'll probably use it lots more than I think.  If anyone needs some custom welding done, I know just the guy to help you!

 Now we just have to figure out a ramp of some kind to get big sheep up into the truck.......


  1. Keep me posted on that ramp. The cage is awesome!!!

  2. We have a rack by Sydell & really like it. We have also been known to strap it down onto our hay trailer to haul a big ram or to take cull ewes to auction rather than try any lift them up onto the truck bed. BUT - fitting yours inside a truck cap is great. Love the "no missing parts" feature!

  3. Very nicely done and thought out. Do you have ramps for putting equipment on trailers? Just use one of them and an appropriate bribe to keep him moving straight up into the crate. If those sheep on the nature programs can scale mountains, I'm sure a regular sheep can handle a ramp!