Animal Husbandry

Animal Husbandry Meaning

Animal husbandry is the science or a branch of agriculture that is concerned with the production, taking care of, and breeding of farm animals.

What is Animal Husbandry?

Humans are dependent on both plants and animals for food; we raise animals for different food items including eggs, milk and meat, and other products like fiber, wool, leather, etc. We deal with a branch of agriculture to provide day-to-day care, selective breeding, and thus raising livestock (of a variety of domestic animals) and the process is known as animal husbandry. 

History of Animal Husbandry

It has a long history when animals were initially domesticated during the Neolithic revolution. Earlier, cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs were raised on farms on a low scale. After the 18th century, agriculturalists rapidly took animal husbandry to the next level and yielded more meat, wool, and milk day by day. A wide variety of species like horses, rabbits, guinea pud, and water buffalo were also used in some parts of the world. Aquaculture of molluscs, crustaceans, and fish was on the rise and insect farming was also adopted. Contemporary methods to define animal husbandry depends on the type of land available and production systems adapted to these. Intensive animal farming that involves maximum production with minimum cost has been adopted by the modern methods that make available thousands of chickens and high-density feedlots. This helps in increasing the yield per area of land with an investment of a good amount of money and labor.

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Importance of Animal Husbandry 

Animal rearing is important for humans as they attain a wide range of food products having high nutrient values. They meet the commercial requirements of high demand for food such as dairy needs from cows, goats, and buffaloes. They are called milch animals as they provide us milk which is full of protein and other vitamins and minerals. The importance of animal husbandry further extends to another set of animals that are important to humans for eggs and meat such as hens, ducks, goose, goat, fish, etc. They are also bred for meat which is rich in protein, iron, fats, vitamin B12 and Zinc. All of these nutrients are essential to enhance metabolic rate, promote fullness, and reduce hunger. Marine animals like fish are also believed to keep a person happier and healthier as these have Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and vitamin D. 

Animal husbandry takes care of the management and breeding of animals and is a large scale business. A farm or a specific region is built for providing shelter, food, and undertaking culturing processes. It also involves apiculture i.e. bee agriculture and aquaculture i.e. marine animals culturing. 

Types of Animal Husbandry

Depending on the types of farming, there are various types of animal husbandry explained as follows.

1. Poultry Farming

It is a kind of animal husbandry that involves raising domesticated birds including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese for producing meat and eggs for food. Large farming is done for poultry in a disease-free environment to obtain healthy and nutritious food from them. Maintaining sanitation and hygiene is important during poultry farming as animals or birds engage in producing a lot of body waste materials. The feces are also used in producing manure or fertilizers for soil. Poultry farming enables massive employment to people that help in the improvement of their economy, especially farmers. 

2. Dairy Farming

It is a class of agriculture where long-term production of milk takes place that leads to sales after its processing. Various products like curd, yogurt, cheese, butter, and cream can be obtained through the management of dairy animals like sheep, goats, buffaloes, and cows. These dairy farming animals are called milch animals.

Healthy animals are opted for dairy farming and are inspected regularly for their overall well-being, physically as well as mentally. Animals are milked by machines or by hands and preserved well to make it industrially applicable that can then be used commercially. 

3. Aquatic Farming (Pisciculture)

Aquatic farming called Pisciculture or fish farming, it is also one of the major types of animal husbandry, which is involved in the rearing of fish and other marine creatures like prawns, in enclosures and controlled manner is called aquatic farming. It is raised in controlled water bodies like tanks, open nets, cages, and ponds. It enables disease-free rearing at a fast pace and makes available commercial supply. Extensive aquaculture and intensive aquaculture are the two types of fish farming known where the former is based on local photosynthetic production and the latter is based upon the external food supply for aquatic animals.

4. Bee Farming (Apiculture)

Apiculture refers to the bee farming practice and the word comes from the Latin word- ‘apis’ which means bee. So, it involves taking care and management of honey bees to produce honey and the wax. Honey possesses wonderful healing properties and can reduce ulcers, regulate blood sugar, lessen digestive problems, treat coughs, and sore throats. Apiculture ensures a safe place for the bees to work and live. Bees are essential for us too as these are engaged in pollination for our food sources. Having bee farming in place, it provides an environment for studying their habitat and behavior.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Advantages of Animal Husbandry to Mankind?

The role of animal husbandry in human welfare can be described as follows-

  • Dairy products producing animals like cows, sheep, and goats are the major sources of milk and milk products including butter, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

  • Many animals including chicken, goat, duck, pigs, and buffaloes are used for their meat because of their highly nutritious value.

  • Livestock is used to control the growth of weeds on agricultural land as the dry shrubs that are prone to fir are eaten up by various animals. This reduces the risk and harm that can be faced with unprecedented situations. So, it is important for land management.

  • Wool and leather are the fibre by-products from animals like sheep and camel. When these animals are reared in a vast number, the products can be obtained largely too.

  • The importance of animal husbandry also lies in the fact that the excreta, bones, and blood of animals can be used as manure or fertilizers via composting. These can be spread on fields to enhance crop yield.

  • Animals are helpful for ploughing fields, military functions, and transporting goods from one place to another. Example: Horse, yak, and donkey.

2. What are the Animal Husbandry Examples? How is it Helpful for Animals?

Animal husbandry examples include cattle farming, horse breeding, dog breeding, sheep farming, beekeeping, aquaculture, etc. It helps in providing proper shelter for animals with full-time food and protection facilities. It helps to keep them disease-free with proper inspections of their well being. Also, it increases the animal's population through cross-breeding. A clean and hygienic environment is maintained for mutual benefits to humans as well as animals.