Today Ken built a ramp for loading and unloading livestock into our car.
One of the advantages of raising small breeds of livestock: When we transport our sheep or pigs, we almost always haul them in the back of our Subaru Outback. We spread a tarp out, then cover it with a layer of hay bedding. It doesn't matter if it's cold and rainy out or 106 degrees; inside the car, the animals get the same comfortable temperature as the human passengers.
With the sheep, we usually just grab them and boost them in, but that's easier said than done with pigs. And also, it's not always easy for the animals to hop OUT of the car at the end of the ride. So we decided that we needed to build a ramp to make loading and unloading easier for all of us.
First, Ken made the basic framework out of 2x4s that I salvaged from a section of old broken down fence.
The bottom end is cut at a slope so it can rest flat on the ground. The top end is notched to fit onto the car's bumper.
After attaching the fiberboard platform to the framework, Ken tests the ramp for strength.
If you want livestock to use a ramp willingly without getting scared, you have to give them good traction so they don't slip. Three rubber doormats should do the trick!
Ken fastens the doormats down with slats, which also provide more traction to prevent little hooves from slipping.
A very important design feature: When the finished ramp is in place, it rests so that the back of the car can be opened and closed freely without interference.
A bucket of grain attracts many volunteers to test out the new ramp.
Sheep approved, the new ramp is a success!
While en route, the ramp can be tied securely to the car's roof rack, so that it's available to unload the animals at the other end of the journey.