You’ve made a successful move to your new homesteading land. The hardest part is behind you, but how are your animals coping? Learn about helping livestock cope with moving to make their adjustment as smooth as possible.
Moving to a new homestead is exciting but also stressful. Animals don’t take as long to adjust as we do, but it’s still stressful to them. As the ones responsible for their care, we have to ensure they have as smooth a transition as possible.
Steps for Helping Livestock Cope with Moving
The most important thing we can do for them is to keep them happy and healthy before, during, and after the move.
In Moving Livestock To New Homestead Land, we looked at the decisions to make about the preparation of livestock before a move and preparation for transporting them. But what do we need to consider for when we arrive at our new homestead land?
The first thing is for you to stretch, take a look around, and relax for a minute. This will put you in a good place to help the animals. Of course, the exception to this would be if you have animals in distress, they should be tended to first.
Next, assess the areas you have prepared for each kind of livestock you have transported. Be sure water and food are available and that there are no dangers present before you unload them.
Unloading Livestock Safely
Unload your livestock slowly. Unload the ones who have had the roughest trip first.
Unload them a few at a time and give them a few minutes to check out their area. Then unload the rest of them that will be in the same area continuing to do so a few at a time.
Use caution and be prepared for a panicked animal. They are stressed and may not be like their normal selves.
Check each animal as it unloads and treat any injury you may find.
Speak to your animals in calm, soothing tones. Do not display excitement. your energy is what they read and if you are frustrated or nervous, they will react accordingly. Keep a level head and be alert to their needs and the safety of everyone.
Confining Livestock For Adjusting Time
You will be a step ahead if your new homestead has suitable outbuildings or barns. It will be easy for you to confine and evaluate your livestock. Fenced pasture paddocks are also an advantage.
It will benefit both you and your livestock to have a few days in confinement while they adjust to the new place and recover from the stress of travel. this is true, even if they will be free ranged.
If you do not have buildings already in place you will need to have set up appropriate staging areas like we discussed in our previous article. In each area provide protection and provision for the animals.
You can quickly set up temporary fencing, especially electrical fencing. It’s fast and cheap. You can also use picket lines to stake larger livestock.
This confinement time will let them know the things necessary in the animal kingdom for security and well-being are still being provided for them by you. They will be happier, healthier, heal faster from any injury and the stress of the move, and adjust quickly if their needs are met.
Unloading Poultry to Avoid Stress
If you did not bring your old coop with you, hopefully, the new coop is ready for them. We talked about setting up your transportation crate to be temporary housing if you need it while the coop is being prepared.
Make sure they have apple cider vinegar water (1-2 tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar in 1 gallon of clean water) for the first few days. Their immune systems will need a boost after the move and it will help with other effects of stress on them.
If you transported them in their coop, excellent. Let them rest in the coop from the jostling. Be sure they have the ACV and food available. The next day you can let them out into their chicken yard. Don’t free range them for 1 week to allow you time to assess their health and for them to recover.
I know things happen, but if possible, unload the rooster last.
If they have a new coop, unload them one at a time into it. Close them up in the coop.
If they have a chicken yard around the coop, you can let them out into it the next morning. Do not free-range chickens for 1- 2 weeks when you give them a new coop. they need to learn where to roost, lay their eggs, escape predators, and find water and food.
If you don’t have their coop ready, set up a temporary yard surrounding their temporary housing. This way they can stretch and move around a bit. Then put them back into the temporary housing before nightfall.
Adjusting to a Different Time Zone
If you move to a different time zone, remember animals don’t know how to read the clock. Adjust their feeding times slowly to adjust them to the new feeding time.
Keep as close to their normal feeding, milking, and turning out times as possible. We want to reduce stress and help in a smooth transition when helping livestock cope with moving.
Helping Our Best Friends Adjust
What about our best friends? The homestead pack is an essential part of our lives. Dogs have a powerful, intuitive connection with their humans. Before we are aware of our stress, sickness, emotions, or energy, they read us and try to help us.
Because of all they do for us, we need to be sure we are aware of our energy and project calm, assertive, supportive energy with them.
They need to know we are in charge and all is well and they will be happy and adjust quickly. It’s as important for them as all the livestock the daily routines be kept as much as possible.
If you take a pack walk with them every day, then keep doing it. Do this on your new land to help them learn boundaries and territory to protect. A walk with also help you adjust and decrease stress
We forget that animals live in the moment. Their adjustment is much easier than ours but we can cause them stress with our energy so be careful to take care of yourself so you can take care of those depending on you.
Moving livestock to new homestead land can be daunting, but with preparation and forethought, it can be done. Hopefully, the steps we take in helping livestock cope with moving can make the move as stress free as possible.
Remember the pioneers when you feel yourself becoming frustrated. They traveled in slow moving covered wagons only a few miles a day. All their belongings, children, and livestock they could bring were plodding along with them for months on end.
You’ll feel thankful for fast-moving vehicles, well-equipped trailers, paved roads to travel on, and technology to entertain the kids!
Do you have experience helping livestock cope with moving? Please share your tips and experience with us.