Animals are often required to deal with change. Rangeland animals in particular are subject to wide variability across time (seasons) and space (patches, land systems). In general, grazing herbivores are quite adept at coping with change, but we can make their job easier and, in return, they’ll reward us with better performance.
One of the biggest changes an animal faces is relocation from one region to another. This might be done when animals are born in one region, but reared to market specifications in another. Or it might be done to provide vegetation with a rest in an area experiencing a poor season, or it could be done when re-building animal numbers when better conditions returns.
We’ve worked with managers and their cattle during relocation from the WA rangelands to farmland, which involved a marked change in diet and environmental conditions. The principles of Stress Free Stockmanship and Self Herding were used to build a positive set of experiences and establish familiarity for the cattle before departure and upon arrival.
Feedback from the managers, and the behavioural responses of the cattle, showed us that the animals were ‘better off’ and in a position to perform well (something we’ll be monitoring over time). A short 9-minute video is available on YouTube to get a feel for how this was done.