Abstract Studies of behaviour of sheep, cattle and goats under the full spectrum of management conditions have highlighted the key areas of social interactions. Species-specific behaviour patterns based on studies of feral species have also done much to improve our knowledge of expected behavioural responses of the domestic forms. The interaction between social and maintenance requirements emerge as the dominant factor in the behaviour of free ranging livestock. Social factors such as home range and sub-group formation, leader-follower relations, and social dominance provide a basis for understanding and utilizing livestock behaviour in rangeland situations. For livestock under intensive management, space and sociality become of paramount importance. Behaviour studies can elucidate principles and methods to minimize problems arising from new forms of housing, feeding and handling.