At Happy Hiker Llamas, we take the safety and well-being of each and every llama very seriously and have adopted certain standards of practice in regards to transporting llamas and planning intelligent trip itineraries. Prior experience sailing large ocean-going vessels world-wide as a commissioned Coast Guard officer and smaller vessels in inland U.S. waters as a licensed Merchant Marine officer has more than prepared Happy Hiker Llamas to professionally plan and anticipate all of the logistic requirements necessary to successfully operate a safe, reliable, and affordable land-based transport business.
Happy Hiker Llamas transport vehicle fleet consists of a 2009 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel truck with a distributed load towing capacity of 18,550 lbs and a 2003 Ford F350 power stroke diesel truck with a distributed load towing capacity of 12,500 lbs. We use a 2006 custom Platinum Coach 34’ gooseneck trailer with an empty trailer weight of 6,000 lbs and trailer load capacity of 9,500 lbs. We limit the trailer load to 6,000 lbs when using the Ford F350 as the tow vehicle allowing for 500 lbs of cargo in the truck bed without exceeding the truck towing capacity.
2006 34' custom Platinum Coach stock trailer and 2003 Ford F350 power stroke diesel truck.
The trailer box is 26’ x 7’ x 6.5’h with three adjustable divider gates. The divider gates can be positioned in 1’ increments allowing for up to 4 separate compartments. Each divider gate is a solid half slider panel that can also swing open as a single door (similar to the rear door) with two 6" high horizontal rows of openings near the top for air flow. These openings are the same size on the rear door, side door, and trailer sides. It allows the llamas to stick their noses out, but not their entire head, and are too high for very young crias to reach.
The trailer floor is solid diamond plate aluminum completely covered with ¾" rubber trailer mats. Hay is used for bedding material and for trips longer than 5 hours, half-full water buckets are hung inside the trailer with bucket straps (no loops for llama heads to get stuck in). The trailer hay rack is 12’ long and depending on bale length, can carry either 14 or 16 two string bales. Any hay carried in the hay rack is covered with a heavy duty vinyl tarp. Additional electrical raceways and plywood barriers to the cargo boot have been added to ensure the curious llama nibbles only on the hay bedding.
Normal set up is for two 3’ x 7’ stud compartments leaving one area for females/geldings and one area for juve/yearling males, mild mannered intact adult males, and geldings. A full trailer load for show / sale is 15 llamas, with a majority being juveniles or yearlings and accounting for two studs. Depending on the configuration, the llamas get between 10.75 and 13 sq ft each – stud compartments, when set up, are getting 21 sq ft each. When using the Ford truck, a full load of 15 allows an average llama weight of 275 lbs, 1200 lbs for hay (carried in hay rack on top of trailer), 175 lbs of hay for bedding, and 500 lbs for other cargo (carried in trailer boot) without exceeding the towing capacity of the Ford truck. The Dodge truck does not have these weight limitations.
Happy Hiker Llamas can also utilize (2) portable half panels to form another divider within the trailer. However, these are not solid panels. They have horizontal bars spaced roughly 12" apart and can easily get a llama leg caught in them. If an additional compartment is needed, it is imperative that the animals on either side of these panels get along very well. The most likely scenario requiring use of this additional divider is if one llama needs to stay "extra" clean and is therefore separated from its usual peer group within the trailer. Under no circumstances will an intact male over one year of age be separated from females with this type of divider.
The number of llamas constituting a full load varies depending on the configuration of the interior dividers, the average weight of the llamas, and the weight of any additional cargo or hay. Happy Hiker Llamas will not decrease the square footage per llama below 10 sq. ft. nor exceed the 9,500lb trailer load limit (or 6,000 lb limit when using the Ford truck).
Happy Hiker Llamas stops the rig for a minimum of 6 hours in a 24 hour period (though not necessarily all in one stop) to allow the llamas to drink water, relieve themselves, and for crias to nurse from their moms. Happy Hiker Llama trip itineraries are based on moving the rig a minimum average of 16 hours in a 24 hour period maintaining an average 50 miles per hour or 800 miles in one full hauling day. Fuel stops and human rest stops are calculated in the rig "move" time, hence the average speed of only 50 mph. The rig is stopped an average of every 2-4 hours with a standard safety check on the llamas and the rig (lights, brakes, tires, rig/trailer connections, hay rack, bedding, water) at every stop. We also padlock all exterior doors to ensure no llamas are "accidentally" let loose by any "curious" humans. Safety always being the first priority, adverse road and weather conditions will affect the actual arrival times.
Happy Hiker Llamas removes all halters during transit. We strongly feel it is much safer and more comfortable for the llamas. We have extensive experience haltering even the most difficult llamas without resorting to wrestling or otherwise physically trying to best them. You can be assured that each and every llama will be treated with respect, patience, and understanding.
Happy Hiker Llamas will load and unload all client llamas through the rear door and will often fully swing open the rear door to eliminate the trip hazard created by the half slider. Under no circumstances will a llama be forcibly pushed into or out of the trailer. They will each be given the time required to safely load and unload on their own. Again, we have extensive experience loading and unloading even the most difficult llamas without resorting to wrestling or otherwise physically trying to best them.
On multi-day hauls, some haulers advocate exercising the llamas each night. Happy Hiker Llamas does not, as a standard practice, exercise the llamas on a daily basis. If the llamas have appropriate space, a two and half to three day trip should not necessitate daily exercise. It may in fact not be a good idea to take the llamas out of the trailer away from their "trailer herd" in a strange location with a different handler other than the owner. This is particularly true if the llama is young and inexperienced as this would require not only an additional haltering / unhaltering but also an additional trailer unloading / loading for the llama. This may actually stress the llama more than the exercise would be worth. The llama should be given plenty of exercise once at its destination before putting it in a stall for another 3-5 days for the show. The llama should also be given plenty of exercise before being put back in the trailer for the 2-3 day return trip.
All clients are apprised of the trip itinerary including the intended trip route. They are also informed of all other animals that will be in the trailer with their animals. It is the owner’s responsibility to provide health papers for interstate travel for animals being transported and we reserve the right to refuse transport for any animals that do not have the required health papers.
At Happy Hiker Llamas, we pride ourselves in being a truly safe, reliable, and affordable transport option for your animals. We treat all animals that we transport with respect, patience, and understanding. And we take the safety and well-being of each and every animal we transport very seriously. We encourage you to contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding our transport services.