What is "to head up to higher altitudes" if we speak about beef cattle? Here is the context:

Animals are thought to use internal magnets - made of crystals of magnetite - to find their way around. Homing pigeons, for instance, have a tiny blob of these crystals in their beaks. Dr Sabine Begall and colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen used Google Earth to find images of cattle in worldwide locations including Britain, Ireland, India and the U.S. They also directly observed almost 3,000 deer in the Czech Republic. Their researches suggested that cattle were behaving in the same way as their close relatives, the deer. Because the direction of the wind and sunlight varied hugely in the different locations, the scientists were able to rule out weather and the position of the sun as an explanation. "We conclude that the magnetic field is the only common and most likely factor responsible for the observed alignment," the researchers wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Gywn Jones, who has kept dairy cattle for 25 years in West Sussex, confirmed: "They know what weather to expect in advance. Beef cattle will head up to higher altitudes if the weather is going to good." My dairy cattle have their favourite fields where they go if it is going to be sunny.


To "head" somewhere means to go in that direction. For example, "I'm heading to my friend's house", "I'm heading North this weekend", "I'm going to head South for the winter".

So in this context, it means that the cattle will travel to higher elevations.

  • Thanks a lot, but sorry, the last sentence i don't understand meaning of "go in and out" and "they head inside": "I let mine go in and out, and if it's going to be wet they head inside."
    – Jane
    Nov 13 '18 at 20:36
  • 1
    "go in and out", in that context, is likely short for "inside and outside". "They head inside" means they go inside. Nov 13 '18 at 20:40

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