Loading and unloading livestock onto or off a vehicle can be the most stressful part of animal transportation. It is important that loading and unloading is performed in a quiet and competent manner. Few animals are transported enough times to become familiar with the process and even the calmest animal can become stressed and flighty when transported.
Loading and unloading facilities typically need to be compatible with a range of vehicles. This will mean that some premises may need to have more than one loading or unloading ramp. Whilst a gentle incline is appropriate for loading bays, unloading bays should always aim for the ramp created by the tailgate and the unloading bay to be as level as possible.
There is a variety of different designs for unloading bays. These range from flat concrete or raised steps (Figure 1) to more complex designs which have hydraulic systems that move up or down depending on the height of the lorry (Figure 2).