United States Patent 3824958

A container for tranporting livestock adapted for over-the-road travel as well as for stacking interchangeably with other cargo containers aboard a ship includes partitions for dividing the container into a plurality of stalls, self-contained feed and water storage means, removable grating floor means, and means to trap the liquid waste.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Sea-Land Service, Inc. (Elizabeth, NJ)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01K1/02; (IPC1-7): A01K1/00
Field of Search:
296/24C 119
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3698360SMALL ANIMAL CAGE1972-10-17Rubricius
3662712CONVERTIBLE PEN1972-05-16Singer
3429297CAGE FOR LABORATORY ANIMALS1969-02-25Schroer
3015407Stacking cargo containers1962-01-02Fesmire et al.
2713322Livestock car feeding, cooling, and watering equipment1955-07-19Coyner
1989025Attachment for poultry batteries1935-01-22Pronske et al.
1913243Poultry car1933-06-06Mudd
1512215Poultry car1924-10-21Edgerton

Primary Examiner:
Chamblee, Hugh R.
I claim

1. A container for transporting livestock over-the-road and aboard a ship for stacking interchangeably in superposed relation with other similar containers or standardized box type containers, said container including a floor means, spaced side walls, a forward wall, a roof and a rearward wall, door means provided in one of said walls for loading and unloading the livestock, said container further including upright support posts adjacent the ends of said container, means provided at the upper and lower ends of each support post for facilitating lifting and transferring of the container and supporting the container in superposed stacked relation on a ship, said container including a self-contained water system for conveying water to the livestock housed within the container, means spaced from said roof within the container and above head level forming a loft for storing livestock feed, a series of loft doors in one of said side walls providing access to said loft for supplying and removing livestock feed therefrom, said floor means including at least one displaceable panel, said panel having a plurality of openings therein, and a liquid waste collection system including a solid pan under said panel for trapping liquid waste and means for conveying said liquid waste from the pan, at least one of said side walls defining a plurality of openings for facilitating feeding of livestock therethrough, and foldable feed bin means cooperating with said side wall and in juxtaposition to said side wall openings for retaining feed accessible to livestock housed in said container, said feed bin means being located directly below said loft doors from which livestock feed may be removed from said loft directly into said feed bin means, and said foldable feed bin means in the closed position being foldable adjacent to said side wall.

2. A container for transporting livestock as recited in claim 1, and further including at least one vertically disposed partition within the container for dividing the container into a plurality of livestock pens, at least a portion of said partition being displaceable for providing access to the pens from said door means.

3. A container for transporting livestock as recited in claim 1, said water system including at least one water supply tank, and conduit means for conveying water from said tank to each pen within the container.

4. A container for transporting livestock as recited in claim 3, said conduit means including livestock drinking bowls within each pen.

5. A container for transporting livestock as recited in claim 3, and further including means for heating the water within the tank and for circulating the water through the system by convective flow to prevent freezing during cold weather.

6. A container for transporting livestock as recited in claim 1, said feed bin having a walkway displaceable therein to facilitate removal of feed from said loft and placement within said feed bin.


The concept of land and sea transportation systems has resulted in the development of containers releasably mounted upon tractor-trailer chassis or railway cars for transportation to a port for loading the containers aboard a ship. The containers then are transported by ship to another port, unloaded and mounted upon trucks or railway cars for delivery to their destinations.

The containers, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,044,653 and 3,085,707 are provided with corner posts, each post having upper and lower coupling members for facilitating lifting by gantry cranes and interlocking and supporting of the containers when stacked in superposed relation with other containers above or below the deck of a ship.

It has been the conventional practice to transport livestock over the road to a port in conventional trailers. The livestock must be unloaded from the trailers and walked onto the vessel by means of a special gangplank. Once aboard ship, the livestock are housed in portable pens. If the livestock arrives at the port before the scheduled loading time, they must remain in the cramped quarters of the trailer without food or water and often in very hot or very cold weather. In addition, livestock shipped in the portable pens aboard a ship require substantial amounts of time to feed and water.

The present invention relates to the containerization of livestock for efficient shipment over land and water. The container offers the ability to be shipped over the road on a chassis or over water either above or below the deck of a ship. The container can be easily hoisted on or off a ship and offers better and more humane quarters in which to transport livestock over land and sea.

The container of the present invention is of a length and width such that it can be stacked in superposed relation with "dry box" containers, such as previously referred to, and/or vehicle carrying containers such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,650,416. Normally, during the transport of livestock, the container is stored above deck. Also, the container stores sufficient food and water for several days travel, normally a minimum of 5 days. The container is divided into several pens or stalls for receiving cattle or other livestock such as horses, pigs, sheep, goats, etc. One side and the ends of the container are substantially closed while the other side, usually the outboard side when positioned aboard ship, is semi-open and includes pivotable feed racks. Openings are provided above the feed racks such that cattle or other livestock can stand with their heads outside the container (only when aboard ship) thereby providing additional space.

Means are provided for heating the water stored within the container and for circulating the water to drinking bowls provided in each stall.

The container includes a grating floor having a solid pan under the grating to trap liquid waste and to transfer the waste from the container to an acceptable disposal tank, or overboard. The grating floor consists of a series of small removal sections, similar to pallets, to facilitate cleaning and disinfecting thereof after each voyage.

One of the primary objects of the invention is the provision of a container having a water and food supply and adapted to be stacked in superposed relation with other containers and which offers door to door pickup and delivery of livestock.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a container which increases the livestock carrying capacity of a ship and which reduces the handling in loading and unloading at port.

Still another object of the invention is the provision of a livestock container which minimizes the attention required by the livestock at sea and which offers more protection to the livestock.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a container for transporting livestock aboard conventional container ships thereby eliminating the need for specialized ships.


FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the livestock container illustrating the semi-open or feeding side;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the container;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the container taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the front of the container;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 6--6 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of the container with the top or roof broken away to illustrate the floor panels and stall arrangement;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary, end elevational view illustrating the feed bins and access to the feed storage area;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the watering system including heating means, water circulation means and watering bowls; and

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of the type of grating found to be most suitable for waste removal as well as animal comfort.


Referring to the drawing, the livestock container 10 comprises a generally closed, box-like housing including a base frame 12, a roof 14, side walls 16 and 18, a forward end wall 20 and a rearward end wall 17. The container is provided with corner posts 11 having castings 13 at the upper and lower ends thereof. The castings 13 are provided with openings 15. The corner posts 11, castings 13 and openings 15 facilitate lifting of the container and stacking of the container in superposed relation as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,044,653 and 3,085,707.

While various types of livestock can be transported, the container 10 will be described in conjunction with the transporting of cattle.

The side walls 16 of the container may be provided with ventilator holes or slots, not shown. However, means must be provided for closing the slots during inclement weather.

The opposite side 18 of the container is provided with openings 22 positioned such that the animals can stand with their heads outside the container when aboard ship thus providing additional space. Also, it is desirable that means be provided for closing the openings 22 during inclement weather. The semi-open side 18 also incorporates provisions for feeding the cattle.

The rearward wall 17 includes a fixed wall 34 and a door 36 slidably mounted in a conventional manner between open and closed positions. Alternatively, the rear door may be of the roll type or may be pivotably mounted about the lower end thereof to serve also as a loading ramp for the cattle.

The container 10 is separated into a plurality of stalls or pens 38, FIGS. 3 and 7, defined by the container end and side walls and the partitions 40. The pen partitions 40 preferably are constructed of aluminum tubing using ladder type construction. As shown most clearly by FIGS. 6 and 7, each partition 40 includes a fixed section 42 and a horizontal slidable section 44 which serves as a door. The slidable door sections 44, which may be locked in a conventional manner, must be opened when loading or unloading cattle. The container 10 is capable of storing enough food and water for several days aboard ship. The feed, which is hay when transporting cattle, is located within the container 10 in a loft 32 above the stalls 38. Referring to FIGS. 3 and 6, bales of hay are supported upon the loft floor 46. A series of loft doors 30 are provided in the side wall 18 for providing access to the feed stored within the loft area 32, FIG. 6, of the container 10. If desired, trap doors may be provided in the loft floor 46 to provide access to the bales of hay from within the container.

Panels 24, which are located outwardly of the side wall 18, normally are maintained in closed or vertical positions by suitable lock means, not shown, during over-the-road transport of the container. When mounted aboard ship, and with the side wall 18 facing the water, the panels 24 may be pivoted about hinges 26 outwardly, as shown by FIG. 8, thus providing feed bins 28, The ends of the bins 28 may be closed by a vinyl liner or other suitable means. The pivotable displacement of the panels 24 may be limited by suitable flexible connectors 48.

A horizontal plate or catwalk 50 is provided in each feed bin 28, as shown by FIG. 8, to support a person thereon thereby allowing removal of the bales of hay from the loft and into the feed bins. The catwalk 50 may be pivoted upon the side wall 18 or the panels 24. A ladder 52, on the forward wall 20, FIG. 4, provides access to the catwalk 50. A track 54 which extends substantially the entire length of the container above the openings 22 is provided for attachment of a conventional safety harness 56 thereto such that a person can safely feed the cattle during heavy weather.

While feeding of the cattle by manual means has been described, it is contemplated that the cattle could be fed automatically by conveyor belts, etc., therefore making it unnecessary to service the container for long periods of time.

A system for automatically watering the cattle will now be described. Referring particularly to FIG. 9, the system includes two supply tanks 58, 60 mounted at one end of the container 10 above a stall 38 and adjacent the roof 14 and a third tank 62 mounted at the upper, forward end of the container. The tanks 58, 60, 62 which are interconnected and hold approximately 800 gallons of water are filled through a conduit 64. Water may initially flow through conduit 64 to tanks 58 and/or 62. A generally T-shaped conduit 68 interconnects tanks 58, 60 and 62 to permit filling of all tanks. As the tanks are being filled, air is permitted to escape through conduit 70 which is connected to the top portion of tanks 58 and 60 and conduit 68. Conduit 70 extends along the side of tank 62 and serves as an overflow when filling the supply tanks. Valve 66 in drain conduit 67 may be used to empty the tanks.

The three sections of conduit 72 extend vertically approximately 2 feet into the tank 62 and are connected to a conduit 74 which extends longitudinally of the container 10 along side wall 18. A series of nose operated water bowls or troughs 76 such as Jamesway Model CWG447 is connected to the conduit 78. Conduit 74 is connected to conduit 78 and provides a return to the lower end of tank 62. It is desirable that the tanks 58, 60, 62 are located above the water bowls 76 to take advantage of gravity feed.

The complete watering system is protected against freezing at outside temperatures down to approximately minus 20° Fahrenheit. The tanks as well as the various conduits are covered by an insulating material 80, a portion of which has been shown in FIGS. 3 and 5. The water is heated by a flameless propane catalytic heater 82, or alternatively, by an electric heater, which is mounted below the water tank 62 and above the propane tank 84 at the forward end of the container. The heater 82 sets up a convective flow of water through the conduit 78 and returns to the tank 62 through conduit 74.

The floor of the container is formed of a plurality of pallet like grating sections 86 preferably of equal size (FIG. 7). Each section is of an easily cleaned stainless steel or aluminum construction having openings therein and supported upon the conventional floor sills of the container. In a preferred embodiment, the grating sections are provided with a plurality of round openings 89 approximately 11/4 inches in diameter (FIG. 10) and the sections are removed from the container for cleaning. However, the sections could be hinged and displaced to generally vertical positions for cleaning purposes.

Located below all the floor grating section 86 is a solid pan 88 for trapping the liquid waste. The liquid waste is conveyed out of the container through a piping 90 which is connected to the pan 88 and then transferred to external holding tanks by means of plastic hoses connected to the drains 90. This permits the liquid waste to continuously run out of the container housing the livestock. For over-the-road travel, the liquid waste within the pan 88 must be discharged periodically to holding tanks.

In transporting smaller animals, such as sheep or goats, double decked pens may be provided within the container.