Having decided to keep sheep - we wondered how we would get them to our place. We thought about borrowing a trailer - but found that no one we knew had anything suitable - and of course its not necessarily that ideal to always be borrowing - we will need to transport any lambs that come to the abatoir, we might well have to transport our sheep to visit with a ram - as borrowing a ram can be hard to do. We want to be independant.
A bit of thought led us the the conclusion we need something second hand (easy conclusion to reach once you have a look at the price of the new ones!) that met with the regulations for the transportation of animals, and would also cover a lot of what our van was doing - ok so no we cant go camping in the trailer - but could carry materials, my son's adult size trike etc., as our van is soon to be gone.
We looked on ebay, but most were so far away and I was not willing to part with that much money without a proper look, so went for the local free ads - where there were no livestock trailers to be had. So this is our solution. First we spent time reading DEFRA's guide to transportation. They give a useful guide once you can find it - detailing how steep the ramp can be - how high is deal for the average height sheep (yes our taxes do go on the research of average sheep shoulder height - scary eh? ) and well - basically what is ok and what is not. No - you dont need to buy a purpose made livestock trailer - you just have to use one that is 'suitable'. and how hard could it be - we converted a van to a camper - a trailer to a livestock trailer would be a doddle? yes, possibly - if we had allowed more time than a week of evenings in the darkest part of winter... but.. we got there in the end.
We bought a fairly battered old open trailer, the wood was rotten but the frame strong and good. We removed all the old timber and then painted the metal frame with hammerite. Then we fixed new WBP panels and flooring, leaving a ventilation stip, and making a drop down ramp at the rear. This is locked to the sides with internal padlocks - after all we don't want any animals falling out on the road......
We opted for a tie down cover, this way when we are moving materials we have move scope than if we had a covered trailer. then by recycling my old numberplate board we used to use when the bikes were on the back of the car, sorted out the electrics, and done. The very next day we collected our sheep, who seemed just fine in the trailer, with some hay to stand on.