Ever since the beginning of civilization, humans have depended on animals for many requirements, such as that of food (milk, meat, and egg), clothing (hide or wool), labour (pulling, carrying the load) and security etc. Humans have consistently tried to improve the breeds of domesticated animals to make them more useful for them.
The branch of agricultural science, which deals with the study of various breeds of domesticated animals and their management for obtaining better products and services from them is known as Animal Husbandry. The term husbandry derives from the word “husband” which means ‘one who takes care’.
The rearing of animals for specific purposes is called domestication and animals are called domesticated animals. When animal husbandry incorporates the study of the proper utilization of economically important domestic animals, it is called Livestock Management. Livestock is used for different purposes. Cattles like cow and buffalo provide milk. Goats provide milk, meat, hair, and skin. Sheep, poultry, and pigs also provide meat. Horses, camels, donkeys are the beasts of burdens, they are used for carrying load and transport. Some insects are the sources of wax and honey.
Animal husbandry provides high yielding and high breeding livestock. It gives supplementary income to farmers and tribals. It has importance in national income.
According to one estimate, more than 70% of the world livestock population is in India and China. But the total contribution of these two countries to world farm produce is only 25 %. It is due to low productivity and improper livestock management.
Livestock management of farm management includes a selection of high yielding breeds, their food requirements, a supply of adequate nutrient sources, cleanliness of the environment, maintenance of health and veterinary supervision, vaccination, high yield cross-breed development, preservation, and production of corresponding products, distribution and marketing.
Uses of Animal Husbandry:
Milk: Cows, buffaloes, and goats provide us with milk. It is the important source of nutrients.
Eggs: Fowl and ducks are two major sources of eggs. It is the important source of nutrients.
Meat: It is protein-rich food and is obtained from ducks, fowls, pigs, sheep, and fish.
Honey and Wax: These are obtained from beehives of honeybees.
Hides: The skin of animals is used as leather for making articles and shoes.
Fibres: Wool is obtained from hairs of sheep and silk is obtained from the cocoons of the silkworm.
Manures: Droppings and urine of animals are used as manure to enrich soil with nutrients.
Bone-meal: Crushed bones of cattle is used as feed in poultry farms and also used as fertilizer.
Glue and gelatin: It is obtained from cattle bones, horns, and hooves. It is used as adhesive. Gelatin is used for making jellies.
Draught or working animals: Bullocks, buffaloes, camels, horses, ass, horse, mules, and animals are used for transport and farm work.
Categories of Animals:
The animals which breed better where they are free than they do when they are captivated are called wild animals. Example Lion, Tiger, Rhinoceros, Deer etc.
They have no common use for humans.
The animals, which are caught from the wild and trained to be useful to humans in some way are called tamed animals. Examples: Elephant, Chimpanzee, Gorilla, Yak etc.
The animals which are of use at home and are easily bred and looked after by humans are called domesticated animals. Examples: dog, horse, cow, sheep, buffalo, fowl etc.
Classification of Domesticated Animals:
Milk giving animals. e.g. Cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep etc.
Draught animals (used for load). e.g. Bullock, horse, donkey, mule, camel, elephant, yak etc.
Fibre, hide and skin yielding animals. e.g. Sheep, goat, cattle, buffalo, camel
Meat and egg yielding animals. e.g. fowl (hen) and duck, goat, buffalo, pig etc.