I remember twenty years ago when a mentor told me, “Anne — your animals don’t care how much you know until they understand how much you care.” While cattle are unable to think like humans, they do have the capacity to learn and I believe that they also have an innate sense which helps them to figure out when a caregiver can be trusted.
The capacity to care is what sets an excellent caregiver apart from everyone else. This person not only provides feed, water and basic daily care to his/her animals; but also brings a sense of security to the animal. While survival provides the innate goal for the animal, the ability to thrive is what creates a higher quality of life that results in an increased ability to convert resources into food.
The secret to thriving finds its root in a caregiver’s capacity to care.
We moved the Lazy YN yearling steers off of grass this week. Having gained 135# and weighing in at 785#, the cattle were ready to move into the feed yard for the final phase of the growth cycle. As we gathered them and then waited in the corral for the trucks to arrive to load, I watched my favorite blonde cowgirl interact with the cattle and I just had to smile. Not only does she get it, calf #963 gets it too. How else can you explain this video demonstrating the bovine boogie?
While I am certainly not proclaiming that everyone needs to teach their cattle to dance, I do think that Megan does a nice job demonstrating that bovine curiosity and the capacity to learn finds its root in the ability of the leader to create trust through a high level of understanding and care.
The main video for Feed Yard Foodie this week appears on the Innovative Livestock Services, Inc. facebook page and twitter feed; so you all will have to head on over there to check it out as it gives a comprehensive look at the Lazy YN cattle — where they came from, how we cared for them on our farm, and where they head to next 🙂
In the meantime, take a few minutes this week to think about how you can increase your capacity to care. Whether it is in your relationships with animals or with humans, the more you care — the better the quality of life.