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Sharing Reiki with Farm Animals and Respecting their Autonomy

Updated: May 8

aspiring animal reiki practitioners sit near a green space with goats sharing animal reiki for farm animals

Curious about Reiki for farm animals? For many of us, farm animals hold a special place in our hearts. The time we spend with them, whether that’s during an Animal Reiki session or just enjoying each other’s company, provides us with so many opportunities to witness their compassion and wisdom. 

As I often say to my students, there are three distinct approaches we can use when we offer animals Reiki. All three approaches have in common that the Animal Reiki Practitioner has the well-being and healing of the animal at the forefront of their mind.  

In this post, you’ll learn more about those approaches and some tips for sharing Reiki with farm animals.

Animal Reiki Approaches for Farm Animals (And All Our Beloved Animals!)

Let’s start with an overview of our choices in approach. The first approach is, I would say, old school. It’s the way I was originally told to modify sessions for animals, and this was really because no one considered animals as having free will in the Reiki process. I call it the “zero options” approach.

In this approach, the animal is restrained or confined so that the practitioner can “do” their Reiki session and the animal has to submit to it because it is “for their own good.”  

The second and, at least these days, most common is the “my way or the highway,” approach. In this approach, the practitioner directs the session, using hand positions and deciding which areas “need” focusing on, and the animal is free to move away if they wish.  

The third and final approach is what I call the “freedom of expression” approach. In this approach, which is also what I teach in the LAL method, the animal can move, explore their environment, can take breaks from the Reiki space, and can choose whether or not to make physical contact with the practitioner. 

two cows sit peacefully in a farm field after an animal reiki session

In this approach, the practitioner drops Reiki rituals and “beaming” and focuses instead on using Reiki meditation to help them be present and listen to the animal. This is the only approach where there is room for the animal to express their preferences and the practitioner trusts the animal to lead their own session. 

It’s important to consider our choices in approach especially when we are offering Reiki to farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks and more. Because many farm animals have been considered “products” rather than sentient beings deserving of compassion, they often have had many negative, fear-driven interactions with humans based on human dominance (and often violence). 

For this reason, they are even more sensitive to any pushiness or dominance in our approach when we show up to offer them Reiki.  The best way to show up in the context of a Reiki session is to see farm animals for the profound healers and teachers they are

A woman who wants to learn animal reiki practices with a chicken at a farm

Where Should We Offer Reiki to Farm Animals? 

Some farm animals will be in a sanctuary where they feel safe and loved. But many will be on a farm being raised for food, or in a stockyard or auction space waiting to go to slaughter. Or you might be driving down the road and see a truck filled with farm animals on their way to die.

Even if it’s not the ideal, calm and safe space for the animal at that moment, it’s always a good time to offer Animal Reiki! Remember, by creating a Reiki space through meditation, you are holding a vibration of peace and love for the animal. You are telling them All is Well, no matter what happens, and that you see them and honor them as the beautiful bright lights that they are. 

In a world that devalues and perpetuates violence on so many farmed animals (over 9.2 billion farmed animals are killed per year in the global food system according to the Food and Agriculture Organization), the love and compassion of Animal Reiki is a very powerful energetic message we can spread!  

Animal Reiki Source founder Kathleen Prasad sits with her goat friend while teaching the Let Animals Lead method of Animal Reiki

How should you start a Farm Animal Reiki session?  

As a practitioner, the first thing we want to do is invite the animal to share the energetic space if they wish, but pay attention to their response to make sure they feel okay with the session. Having an open intention is key to helping our energy feel safe and supportive, rather than pushy and dominant. We should be mindful throughout the session to make sure the animal shows that they are comfortable with our presence. 

Depending on where we are, we might be standing in a field or barn, or even offering from our heart as we drive by the livestock truck. The power of love, compassion and healing that Animal Reiki creates will be felt and appreciated, no matter what situation we find ourselves (and the farm animals) in.  

What do we focus on? One of the biggest challenges of working with farm animals is not to get overwhelmed by the overall global situation of their kind. We must transcend, through our meditation, from what is “wrong” and all the challenges they face, and go deeper to see their beautiful and perfect souls. If our energy is full of sadness and overwhelm, it won’t feel comfortable to them and they may choose not to connect in a session with us.  

In addition, just like other animals, farm animals prefer a hands-off approach, the exception being if they touch you first (then you can touch them back, but only where they are indicating they would like to be touched). Some farm animals, such as goats and sheep, can often be very physically demonstrative during Animal Reiki sessions, shoving their heads into our hands and heart as we sit or squat near them. 


Keep your thoughts positive, see their heart with your heart, and only touch if they are the ones to initiate it. These simple rules will ensure your farm animal Reiki session is successful! 

A woman meditates and shares Animal Reiki with a duck at an animal sanctuary

Benefits of Animal Reiki for Farm Animals 

Animal Reiki practitioners do not “heal” animals—they are not healers, but rather practitioners of a system of practice that teaches how to hold space that supports the animal in their self-healing process. 

When farm animals are able to shift into the state of deep relaxation during an Animal Reiki session, a wonderful rebalancing through self-healing can occur, which facilitates improvements such as: 

  • Recovery from past trauma 

  • Rehab and healing from injuries and illnesses 

  • Lessening and relief from anxiety-related behaviors 

  • Peace and comfort surrounding end of life (even for those in the direst of circumstances) 

  • Offering compassion and love to help heal the farm animal/human relationship on this planet 

A Few Things to Look For During Farm Animal Reiki Sessions 

Because farm animal preference before and during an Animal Reiki session is so important, here are some things to look for to see how they might be responding to the session. 

Pigs: They may shove their bodies into your hands or plop down at your feet so you can sit next to them. Some pigs are very vocal and will happily oink at you during the session. Read this blog about my hog friend, Harley. 

Goats: Goats are often very active and may head butt a little or chew on your clothing as they settle in. But once they relax, they will often sleep very deeply during sessions. 

Sheep: Sheep can be very timid during Reiki sessions, and this can require a lot of patience. They may keep their distance at first, but once they realize you aren’t forcing anything and they can trust you, they will often come close and cuddle during sessions.  

Cows: Cows will often crowd together close to you, and sometimes the whole herd will even lie down together to enjoy a good Reiki nap. I’ve also had some cows give me lots of cow kisses during Reiki! 

Geese, ducks and chickens: I’ve found geese to be very verbal during sessions, happily honking away as they intensely watch you meditate. Ducks and chickens often come close and after a time will lie down and sleep. Ducks may sleep while floating in their pond during Reiki, keeping an eye on you all the while. Sometimes chickens will dig a nice hole and then sleep in it.  

A duck who seemed unsure about Animal Reiki feeling relaxed post session

Open a Space for Healing For Our Farm Animals Friends

Sharing Reiki with farm animals grounds us—practitioner and animal—in the present in such a beautiful way. By evolving our approach to let go of control and instead seeing Animal Reiki as a way of holding space for farm animals that is based on mindfulness, meditation, and agency (preference, freedom and independence), we’ll be amazed to see farm animals feel safe to connect with us! 

We’ll also be open to the lessons they want to teach us about energy, healing, resilience, compassion and so much more. 

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How kind and respectful, thank you Kathleen for teaching and sharing how we can grow to be of real service to farm animals, whatever the circumstances they find themselves in. Anne. 💚

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