Animal husbandry is the care and breeding of animals, particularly livestock. People have done this for a very long time; it is much older than agriculture. Nomadic people and people In rural areas often teach their children how to care for their animals. 4-H is an organization that also teaches children in the United States how to raise and care for farm animals.
Some people who specialize in animal husbandry try to make sure that the animals are well cared for, while others try to make sure that the animals cost as little as possible to raise.
Examples of animal husbandry are:
- Dog breeding
- Horse breeding
- Pig farming
- Raising cattle
- Sheep farming
- Dairy farming
Dairy farming is a branch of animal husbandry whereby dairy animals are raised for their milk. The cow is mainly used throughout the world to produce milk and milk products for human consumption. Other animals used to a lesser extent for this purpose include sheep, goats, camels, buffaloes, yaks, reindeer, horses and donkeys. In the past, cows were kept in small herds on family farms, grazing pastures and fed hay in winter, nowadays they are kept in larger herds, more intensive systems and the feeding of silage.
Many animals are raised for their meat. Meat, mainly from farmed animals, is a major source of dietary protein around the world. Cattle generally produce a single offspring annually which takes more than a year to mature; sheep and goats often have twins and these are ready for slaughter in less than a year; pigs give birth to more than one litter of up to about 11 piglets each year. Horses, donkeys, deer, buffalo, llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicunas are farmed for meat in various regions.
Poultry includes all birds domesticated by man. They are kept for their eggs and for their meat. They include chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. Chickens are mainly used throughout the world for egg production. Methods for keeping poultry range from free-range systems, where the birds can roam as they will but at night they are kept in barns for their own protection, through semi-intensive systems where they are kept in barns and have perches, litter and some freedom of movement, to intensive systems where they are kept in cages.
- What is Animal Husbandry?, retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Dairy production and products". www.fao.org. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
- "Factors Affecting Litter Size". www.thepigsite.com. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
- Neville G. Gregory; Temple Grandin. Animal welfare and meat production (2nd edition ed.). Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK. ISBN 978-1-84593-215-2. OCLC 71243881.
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- Miller, G. Tyler (George Tyler), 1931-. Sustaining the Earth. Spoolman, Scott (Eleventh edition ed.). Stamford, CT. ISBN 978-1-285-76949-3. OCLC 858359891.
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- "Egg laying hens". www.ciwf.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-11-15.