It’s Important to LIKE your Animals

Posted September 16th, 2010 — Filed in Bud's Musings, Stockmanship

Emotion is it good or bad or does it really matter?

After many years of studying animals it is my belief that their emotions have a lot to do with their health and performance, good or bad. The last 20 years of working with and trying to teach people I’m now starting to believe that the emotions of the people working with animals may have more to do with the animal’s health and performance (good or bad) than the emotion of the animals. In most situations it is the emotions of the people that determines the emotions of the animals that they work.

Animals that we own and work are not naturally anything, they are what we train, teach or cause them to be. Animals or at least most animals can adjust to different situations quite quickly. They do have trouble adjusting to some emotional behaviors by the people working them, especially if this emotion keeps changing or is always negative. Animals are very perceptive and are very aware of changing or negative emotion in the people around them. When I was young most of the farmers in our area had some milk cows. If a stranger just walked into the milking barn during milking many of the cows would give less milk or at least hold up their milk and make them harder to milk. If the stranger was upset or a negative person the cows would sometimes get agitated and be hard to milk. This caused most farmers to keep strangers out of their milking barns just as a way to stop this problem.

Today, with most things done with machines or people in a hurry there is very little chance for the animals to adjust to anything that is consistent or close to the same each day. If animals are left alone they would live a very simple life. When we own them their life and the way they live is determined by us and there is very little that will be simple when people are involved. If we keep animals confused and upset all the time there will be health and performance problems.

The livestock industry keeps thinking that all of the problems can be cured with more drugs, machines and technology.  Like most things that cause a problem, these problems can’t be stopped with more of what causes it. While the industry will not change and be concerned about the emotion of the animals, the individuals who want to can be concerned and eliminate many of the health and performance problems.

 Learn to like all of your animals every minute of every day.  Any animals that you can’t like, get rid of them as soon as possible. The animals are virtually never the start of any problem,  the people who own or work them start the problem and then perpetuate it by being upset because the problem is there.

Enjoy your animals all the time and like what happens, good or bad (fix the bad then enjoy the good) or work with machines that are not as concerned about your emotions. You may notice that I stated that machines are not AS concerned, but even the machine will work better for the person that likes them MOST of the time.