What is Animal Husbandry?

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Animals, Cattle, ping, goat, sheep, hen

The term "husbandry" comes from the term ‘husband’ which usually means the one who takes care. Simply, animal husbandry means taking care of animals. The management and breeding of domestic livestock scientifically to achieve desired qualities is animal husbandry. These desired qualities can be nutritional or recreational. Animal husbandry is usually associated with milk producing animals like cows, goats and buffaloes. It is also associated with egg and meat giving animals like sheep, pigs, ducks, and hens among others. Nowadays, animal husbandry also deals with animals that are a source of labor like buffaloes, camels, horses and mules. 



What is the need of Animal Husbandry?

There are a large variety of animals on this planet that we depend on for food and other products such as fur, wool etc. We need these domestic animals to do a lot of our work other than producing food for humans. In developing countries like India, there are about 90 million cattle that are used for working in the fields. But if we take the ratio of the land to the cattle, there are only about 2 cattle available for 4 hectares of land. Also, animal droppings are used as manure and fuel for cooking.



What is the role of genetics in Animal Husbandry?

Introduction of genetics in animal husbandry was a step towards innovation. Breeders choose the livestock that is ready and apply genetics to reproduce animals with similar characteristics. Application of genetics helps the breeders to develop larger, stronger, meatier and speedy animals. Methods like artificial insemination (a method in which the sperm is placed in the reproductive organ of the female in order to get the female pregnant by means other than sexual intercourse) and embryo transfer (the embryo is placed in the female uterus to impregnate the female) are common methods employed to guarantee that the females regularly breed and to also improve the genetics of the herd. Artificial insemination was initially introduced for the breeding of livestock mostly for pigs and dairy cattle but it worked so well with the livestock that it is now used in humans. Embryo transfer is done by transferring the embryos from animals registered for breeding called the stud animal into surrogate mothers. This way the stud quality mother is free to be impregnated again. This method increases the count of issues. It also increases the capacity of animals to convert their feed into milk, meat or any other useful end product. The risk involved in this kind of breeding is that it decreases the genetic diversity amongst animals and makes them more open to diseases.



What are the factors to be considered for managing Animal Husbandry?

There are several factors that need to be accounted for while managing livestock. The animals should be fed on time and correctly. All the required nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins, fat etc. should be a part of the diet. The diet of a cattle can be divided into two categories concentrates that constitute of oil cakes, cereal grains, bran, seeds etc. that have high nutritional value. The animals must be properly housed. They must be protected from extreme climatic conditions. Their place of stay must be properly ventilated and must have good sanitation. Different kinds of animals must be housed separately. These animals should be given plenty of clean water to drink to keep them away from diseases. They must also be cleaned once in a while in clean water. Moreover, the domestic animals must be vaccinated to protect against fatal diseases.



What are the common diseases prevalent in Animal Husbandry?

The common disease of domestic animals can be broadly classified into two categories

  • Bacterial diseases: The most common bacterial diseases amongst livestock are cholera in fowls, tuberculosis in poultry birds and cattle, chickens can be affected by diarrhea among other diseases.
  • Viral diseases: Cattle, sheep, fowls and goats are attacked by pox. Different kinds of virus can cause dermatitis in sheep and goat. Cattle are prone to foot and mouth diseases.
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