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The Importance of Socializing Livestock

| 10/19/2016 10:32:00 AM

At a very young age, my grandmother taught me the importance of respect and proper care of animals that were critical to a farm. As an adult, I learned that proper socialization and handling were also key components to the relationship between a human caretaker and their livestock. This article is intended for those with small homesteads or breeding programs, as it may be more difficult to spend this time with your animals if you have a large-scale operation (such as a beef or poultry farm).

There are two key reasons that the socialization of livestock should be a concern for small farmers and homesteaders. Let's break this down to show you why it can benefit you and others.

Your Benefit

It is much more pleasant to feed, lead, and medicate a friendly herd or flock than it is to chase around a flighty group. It can make the tasks of milking a cow or collecting eggs enjoyable instead of being a chore. As an example, we have a female goat who was handled from the start, and she now leads easily and stands for her hooves to be trimmed with no fuss. Having a well-mannered animal can make it easier on you in the long run.


After brief training, we are able to lead our goat on a collar and leash- Photo: Wolf Branch Homestead)

The Benefit To Others

If you breed and sell livestock, you may come across potential buyers who want to know the animal's background and personality. They may be looking to purchase a rabbit, and will ask if it is easily held. It could be someone wanting to buy a nanny goat, and they will ask how easily she stands to be milked. From our experience, the ability to answer these questions can really make a sale. Also consider the joy your family or guests can have from petting or holding a farm animal with a good personality.

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