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Reading A Cow’s Mind As It Learns

By   /  April 16, 2013  /  Comments Off on Reading A Cow’s Mind As It Learns

If you watch your trainees closely, you’ll be able to guess what they’re learning and how you might change what you do to help them out.

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CowTryingRangeCubesI can tell anyone how to train their livestock to add new foods to their diet, but sometimes, it’s more than just the steps I need to share. Sometimes success involves just watching animals and trying to figure out what they might be thinking. I can’t describe the process that goes on in my head, but I can show you what it looks like from my perspective with this little video.

In it, you’ll see an example of how I modified the training to meet my students’ needs. They were afraid of the tubs where I was feeding them special treats. So to get them over their fear, we tossed in some food that they understood. A little familiar hay in an unfamiliar feed tub translates to “Oh, I get it! This is where the humans want me to eat!” I hope it will also help you to adjust your expectations. No, trainees don’t run right up and eat everything we give them. They try a little at a time, let their internal feedback mechanisms work, and then with practice, they become very good at eating new foods.


If you haven’t already checked out the training tips for turning your livestock into weed eaters, here’s the article for you: How to Teach Livestock to Eat Weeds.

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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

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