Rebuilding Farm Trailers

“Every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist.”-Wendell Berry

          My husband is handy like a handle on a bucket. He can fix almost anything. He might not know how to fix it outright, but once he starts taking it apart and fiddling with it he can pretty much get it working again. His handiness has saved us thousands of dollars over the years.
          People, who are self-reliant like my husband, have learned to make their own homemade contrivances to help them around their homestead. Farming is a lifestyle that can require a lot of appliances and gadgets. One of the most necessary appliances needed around a farm is trailers to carry things such as animals, hay, and heavy equipment. 

          We have been farming for years without our very own stock trailer. Any time we needed to carry our animals to the vet or auction barn we have been relying on the stock trailer of our very generous neighbors. But as with any self-reliant person my husband wanted a stock trailer of his own, so as not to depend on others. Of course we cannot afford to buy a new stock trailer, so we set about looking around for a used stock trailer that was in need of fixing. After much looking and haggling over prices, we settled on a stock trailer that cost us $1,300 (A new trailer in our corner of the woods can cost $4,000 and up.) and that measured 16 feet.  It was perfect for taking a couple of cows or a few pigs wherever they needed to go!
          First thing my husband did after he got it home was to take out all of the old wooden floor boards. Being thrifty myself, I washed the old boards and saved them to use in creating signs or in small wood projects around the farm yard. Since the wood was old we didn’t trust them to support the weight of a 1,500 pound cow, but the wood had enough life in it for other uses. Also with the stock trailer being quite old he welded in more metal to support the weight of the cows.  The metal he used was leftover from the construction of the animal pens we added recently, but he also saves all metal he happens to run across for future projects.


     The next item he tackled was the back sliding door of the trailer. The problem was that the door did not slide. It open and closed just fine, but the small door that was suppose to slide back and forth to aid in loading the animals was stuck! My husband took the door off and used brute force and a bunch of banging to get the door unstuck. He fixed the track the door was suppose to slide on to get the door moving again. He then reattached the door and it worked!

     He also took out some of the more major dents. He sprayed the trailer with a Rustoleum oil-based rusty metal primer and then sprayed it with another Rustoleum oil-based paint.


 After all the paint was dried he laid down newly bought wooden floor boards.  The new wooden floors was the most expensive part of the rebuilding of the stock trailer, but cows are heavy and once they are loaded up on the trailer you can feel the trailer move and sway as the cows walk and move about in the trailer. They need something sturdy underfoot to keep them safe in the transportation process. Loading and hauling cattle needs to be a low-stress process for both animals and humans. And not having to worry about the cattle weight on the floor boards makes life easier. After all is said and done the rebuilding of the stock trailer cost us $200 for a total of $1,500 spent on our new-to-us stock trailer.

     As soon as the stock trailer project was completed, my husband embarked on another trailer fixing project. Years ago my husband helped out another one of our neighbors in a construction project in exchange for a used 14 foot trailer.  We have been using this trailer for nearly 10 years in hauling hay, the tractor, the jeep, and construction materials. Heck, sometimes we used it to haul people in a hay ride around the farm! Well after 10 years it was in need of some fixing!
     Again, my husband removed the old wooden floor boards and welded on some new metal so as to make the floor stronger. We can’t have construction materials and people falling through!
     And then lastly, he added new wooden floor boards. Again that was the most expensive part of the redo of the trailer, but the most important thing in hauling things in a trailer is to get it from point A to point B without incident. This trailer project cost us $150.
     Being self-reliant takes a lot of hard work, effort and at times willingness to fail. Learning to fix things yourself saves you money and you learn new skills that can be used again on another project making you handy like a handle on a bucket. I have noticed that the harder you work the more you seem to have. And I am not talking about just material possessions, but you develop a good character, responsibility, and learn new skills. “Some people dream of success…while others wake up and work hard at it.”-Author Unknown


  1. Great post. We have the same situation y'all had. We need a good stock trailer for hauling goats and hogs. The last couple of years I've been borrowing a neighbor's trailer. He doesn't mind, but I feel like we really need our own.
    Last year I bought a good trailer, cheap. But it needs a new floor and reinforcement on the sides. This post is a good inspiration to get that done.
    Unfortunately I don't have your husband's skills. The most basic construction and fix-up projects are huge challenges for me!

  2. Thanks for your compliment! Remember that every expert in anything was also once a novice. I say you pull up the floor boards of your trailer and take a look at the frame. If it needs work, you could go down to your local high school or community college's welding department and see which student the instructor could recommend to help you out. While he welds, watch and learn. You can also rent welding equipment. Good luck on your project!

  3. Great work. Guess who is now on the stock trailer hunt.

    1. Good luck hunting! I am sure you will find something perfect for your mustangs!

  4. when rebuilding the stock trailer does it matter how the boards are laid down long ways are across


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