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Animal husbandry is the branch of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
concerned with
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
s that are raised for
meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular respiratio ...

meat
,
fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including ...
,
milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. The requirement for dietary nutrient intake applies to animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that ...

milk
,
egg An egg is the organic vessel containing the in which an develops until it can survive on its own, at which point the animal hatches. An egg results from of an . Most s, (excluding s), and lay eggs, although some, such as s, do not. eg ...

egg
s, or other products. It includes day-to-day care,
selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding Animal breeding is a branch of animal science Animal science (also bioscience) is described as "studying the biology Biology i ...
and the raising of
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
. Husbandry has a long history, starting with the
Neolithic revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many s during the period from a lifestyle of to one of and , making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities perm ...
when animals were first
domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
, from around 13,000 BC onwards, antedating farming of the first crops. By the time of early civilisations such as
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
,
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
,
goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of typically kept as . It was from the (''C. aegagrus'') of and . The goat is a member of the animal family and the subfamily , meaning it is closely related ...

goat
s and
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...

pig
s were being raised on farms. Major changes took place in the
Columbian exchange#REDIRECT Columbian exchange native plants. Clockwise, from top left: 1. Citrus (Rutaceae); 2. Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwid ...
when Old World livestock were brought to the New World, and then in the
British Agricultural Revolution#REDIRECT British Agricultural Revolution#REDIRECT British Agricultural Revolution {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
of the 18th century, when livestock breeds like the Dishley Longhorn cattle and Lincoln Longwool sheep were rapidly improved by agriculturalists such as Robert Bakewell to yield more meat, milk, and
wool Wool is the textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitti ...
. A wide range of other species such as
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

horse
,
water buffalo The water buffalo (''Bubalus bubalis''), also called the domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo, is a large bovid The Bovidae comprise the biological family Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical tax ...

water buffalo
,
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict crite ...

llama
,
rabbit Rabbits, also known as bunnies or bunny rabbits, are small s in the (along with the ) of the (along with the ). ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' includes the species and its descendants, the world's of . ''Sylvilagus'' includes 13 wild rabbit ...

rabbit
and
guinea pig The guinea pig or domestic guinea pig (''Cavia porcellus''), also known as the cavy or domestic cavy (), is a species of rodent Rodents (from Latin , 'to gnaw') are mammals of the Order (biology), order Rodentia (), which are characteri ...

guinea pig
are used as livestock in some parts of the world.
Insect farmingInsect farming is the practice of raising and breeding insects as livestock Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree ...
, as well as
aquaculture Aquaculture (less commonly spelled aquiculture), also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct rel ...
of
fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ray-finned fish, belonging to the class , with over 95 ...

fish
,
mollusc Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate animals after the Arthropoda. The members are known as molluscs or mollusks (). Around 85,000 extant taxon, extant species of molluscs are recognized. The number of fossil species is es ...
s, and
crustacean Crustaceans (Crustacea ) form a large, diverse arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a ''backbone'' or ''spine''), der ...
s, is widespread. Modern animal husbandry relies on production systems adapted to the type of land available.
Subsistence farming Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmer A farmer (also called an agriculturer) is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development ...
is being superseded by
intensive animal farming In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for form ...
in the more developed parts of the world, where for example beef cattle are kept in high density feedlots, and thousands of
chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domestication, domesticated subspecies of the red junglefowl originally from Southeastern Asia. Rooster or cock is a term for an adult male bird, and a younger male may be called a cockerel. A m ...

chicken
s may be raised in broiler houses or
batteries Battery may refer to: Energy source * Electric battery, an electrochemical device to provide electrical power ** Automotive battery, a device to provide power to certain functions of an automobile ** List of battery types * Energy storage, inclu ...
. On poorer soil such as in uplands, animals are often kept more extensively, and may be allowed to roam widely, foraging for themselves. Most livestock are
herbivore A herbivore is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are organisms that form the Animalia. With few exceptions, animals , , are , can , and grow from a hollow sphere of , the , during . Over 1.5 million animal have been —of ...
s, except for pigs and chickens which are
omnivore An omnivore () is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are organisms that form the Animalia. With few exceptions, animals , , are , can , and grow from a hollow sphere of , the , during . Over 1.5 million animal have been — ...
s.
Ruminants Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. The well-known ranks in descending order are: life, ...

Ruminants
like cattle and sheep are adapted to feed on grass; they can forage outdoors, or may be fed entirely or in part on rations richer in energy and protein, such as pelleted cereals. Pigs and poultry cannot digest the
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of glycosidic bond, β(1→4) linked glucose, D-glucose units. Cellulose is an important stru ...

cellulose
in forage, and require other high-protein foods.


Etymology

The verb ''to husband'', meaning "to manage carefully," derives from an older meaning of ''
husband A husband is a male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual repro ...

husband
'', which in the 14th century referred to the ownership and care of a household or farm, but today means the "control or judicious use of resources," and in agriculture, the cultivation of plants or animals.
Farmer A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exe ...

Farmer
s and ranchers who raise livestock are considered to practice ''animal husbandry''; in modern times, large agricultural companies relying on mass production and advanced technology have largely superseded individual farmers as the chief food-animal producers in
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
.


History


Birth of husbandry

The
domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
of livestock was driven by the need to have food on hand when hunting was unproductive. The desirable characteristics of a domestic animal are that it should be useful to the domesticator, should be able to thrive in his or her company, should breed freely, and be easy to tend. Domestication was not a single event, but a process repeated at various periods in different places. Sheep and goats were the animals that accompanied the
nomads A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, Nomadic pastoralism, pastoral nomads (owning lives ...
in the Middle East, while cattle and pigs were associated with more settled communities. The first wild animal to be domesticated was the
dog The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a Domestication, domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog Origin of the domestic dog, derived from an Pleistocene ...

dog
. Half-wild dogs, perhaps starting with young individuals, may have been tolerated as scavengers and killers of vermin, and being naturally
pack hunter A pack hunter or social predator is a predatory animal which hunts its prey by working together with other members of its species. Normally animals hunting in this way are closely related, and with the exceptions of chimpanzees where only males no ...
s, were predisposed to become part of the human pack and join in the hunt. Prey animals, sheep, goats, pigs and cattle, were progressively domesticated early in the history of agriculture. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 13,000 BC, and
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
followed, some time between 11,000 and 9,000 BC.
Cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

Cattle
were domesticated from the wild
aurochs The aurochs (''Bos primigenius'') ( or ), also known as urus or ure, is an extinct cattle species that was first described in 1827. With a shoulder height of up to in bulls and in cows, it was one of the largest herbivores in Holocene Europe ...

aurochs
in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8,500 BC. A cow was a great advantage to a villager as she produced more milk than her calf needed, and her strength could be put to use as a
working animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secu ...
, pulling a plough to increase production of crops, and drawing a sledge, and later a cart, to bring the produce home from the field. Draught animals were first used about 4,000 BC in the Middle East, increasing agricultural production immeasurably. In southern Asia, the
elephant Elephants are the largest existing land animals. Three living species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A specie ...

elephant
was domesticated by 6,000 BC.Gupta, Anil K. in ''Origin of agriculture and domestication of plants and animals linked to early Holocene climate amelioration'', Current Science, Vol. 87, No. 1, 10 July 2004 59. Indian Academy of Sciences. Fossilised chicken bones dated to 5040 BC have been found in northeastern China, far from where their wild ancestors lived in the jungles of tropical Asia, but archaeologists believe that the original purpose of domestication was for the sport of cockfighting. Meanwhile, in South America, the
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict crite ...

llama
and the
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria ...

alpaca
had been domesticated, probably before 3,000 BC, as beasts of burden and for their wool. Neither was strong enough to pull a plough which limited the development of agriculture in the New World. Horses occur naturally on the steppes of Central Asia, and their domestication, around 3,000 BC in the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
and
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
region, was originally as a source of meat; use as
pack animal A pack animal, also known as a sumpter animal or beast of burden, is an individual or type of working animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one grou ...
s and for riding followed. Around the same time, the wild ass was being tamed in Egypt.
Camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, ...

Camel
s were domesticated soon after this, with the
Bactrian camel The Bactrian camel (''Camelus bactrianus''), also known as the Mongolian camel or domestic Bactrian camel, is a large even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on ...

Bactrian camel
in
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
and the Arabian camel becoming beasts of burden. By 1000 BC, caravans of Arabian camels were linking India with Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.


Ancient civilisations

In
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
, cattle were the most important livestock, and sheep, goats, and pigs were also kept; poultry including ducks, geese, and pigeons were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were force-fed with dough to fatten them. The Nile provided a plentiful source of fish.
Honey bee A honey bee (also spelled honeybee) is a eusocial Eusociality (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Honey bee
s were domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, providing both honey and wax. In
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
, all the livestock known in ancient Egypt were available. In addition, rabbits were domesticated for food by the first century BC. To help flush them out from their burrows, the
polecat Polecat is a common name for mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female# ...

polecat
was domesticated as the
ferret The ferret (''Mustela furo'') is a small, domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to s ...

ferret
, its use described by
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
.


Medieval husbandry

In northern Europe, agriculture including animal husbandry went into decline when the Roman empire collapsed. Some aspects such as the herding of animals continued throughout the period. By the 11th century, the economy had recovered and the countryside was again productive. The ''
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent ...
'' recorded every parcel of land and every animal in England: "there was not one single hide, nor a yard of land, nay, moreover ... not even an ox, nor a cow, nor a swine was there left, that was not set down in he king'swrit." For example, the royal
manor Manor may refer to: Land tenure *Manor, the land belonging to the Lord of the manor under manorialism in parts of medieval Europe, notably England *Manor house, the main residence of the lord of the manor *Lord of the manor, the landholder of a ma ...
of
Earley Earley is a town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or the ...
in
Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers ...

Berkshire
, one of thousands of villages recorded in the book, had in 1086 "2 fisheries worth aying tax of7s and 6d ach yearand 20 acres of meadow or livestock Woodland for eeding70 pigs."
The improvements of animal husbandry in the medieval period in Europe went hand in hand with other developments. Improvements to the plough allowed the soil to be tilled to a greater depth. Horses took over from oxen as the main providers of traction, new ideas on
crop rotation Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crop A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more r ...
were developed and the growing of crops for winter fodder gained ground. Peas, beans and vetches became common; they increased soil fertility through nitrogen fixation, allowing more livestock to be kept.


Columbian exchange

Exploration and colonisation of North and South America resulted in the introduction into Europe of such crops as maize, potatoes, sweet potatoes and manioc, while the principal Old World livestock – cattle, horses, sheep and goats – were introduced into the New World for the first time along with wheat, barley, rice and turnips.


Agricultural Revolution

Selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding Animal breeding is a branch of animal science Animal science (also bioscience) is described as "studying the biology Biology i ...
for desired traits was established as a scientific practice by Robert Bakewell during the
British Agricultural Revolution#REDIRECT British Agricultural Revolution#REDIRECT British Agricultural Revolution {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
in the 18th century. One of his most important breeding programs was with sheep. Using native stock, he was able to quickly select for large, yet fine-boned sheep, with long, lustrous wool. The Lincoln Longwool was improved by Bakewell and in turn the Lincoln was used to develop the subsequent breed, named the New (or Dishley) Leicester. It was hornless and had a square, meaty body with straight top lines. These sheep were exported widely and have contributed to numerous modern breeds. Under his influence, English farmers began to breed
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
for use primarily as beef. Long-horned heifers were crossed with the Westmoreland bull to create the Dishley Longhorn. The semi-natural, unfertilised pastures formed by traditional agricultural methods in Europe were managed by grazing and mowing. As the ecological impact of this land management strategy is similar to the impact of such natural disturbances as a
wildfire A wildfire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, unwanted, uncontrolled fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction ...

wildfire
, this agricultural system shares many beneficial characteristics with a natural habitat, including the promotion of
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
. This strategy is declining in Europe today due to the intensification of agriculture. The mechanized and chemical methods used are causing biodiversity to decline.


Husbandry


Systems

Traditionally, animal husbandry was part of the subsistence farmer's way of life, producing not only the food needed by the family but also the fuel, fertiliser, clothing, transport and draught power. Killing the animal for food was a secondary consideration, and wherever possible its products, such as wool, eggs, milk and blood (by the ) were harvested while the animal was still alive. In the traditional system of
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower val ...

transhumance
, people and livestock moved seasonally between fixed summer and winter pastures; in
montane Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area ...

montane
regions the summer pasture was up in the mountains, the winter pasture in the valleys. Animals can be kept extensively or intensively. Extensive systems involve animals roaming at will, or under the supervision of a herdsman, often for their protection from
predators Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (which ...

predators
.
Ranch A ranch (from es, rancho) is an area of landscape, land, including various structures, given primarily to ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle and sheep. It is a subtype of a farm. These terms are most often appl ...
ing in the
Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the ...
involves large herds of cattle grazing widely over public and private lands. Similar cattle stations are found in South America, Australia and other places with large areas of land and low rainfall. Ranching systems have been used for
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
,
deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapiti), the , and the ; and the , including the (caribou), , the , and the . Male deer of all species (except the Chinese ) as we ...

deer
,
ostrich ''Struthio'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a ...

ostrich
,
emu The emu (''Dromaius novaehollandiae'') is the second-largest living bird by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. It is endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological c ...

emu
,
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict crite ...

llama
and
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria ...

alpaca
. In the uplands of the United Kingdom, sheep are turned out on the fells in spring and graze the abundant mountain grasses untended, being brought to lower altitudes late in the year, with supplementary feeding being provided in winter. In rural locations,
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...

pig
s and
poultry Poultry () are domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable s ...

poultry
can obtain much of their nutrition from scavenging, and in African communities, hens may live for months without being fed, and still produce one or two eggs a week. At the other extreme, in the more developed parts of the world, animals are often intensively managed; dairy cows may be kept in zero-grazing conditions with all their forage brought to them; beef cattle may be kept in high density
feedlot A feedlot or feed yard is a type of animal feeding operation (AFO) which is used in intensive animal farming, notably beef Beef is the culinary name for meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed an ...

feedlot
s; pigs may be housed in climate-controlled buildings and never go outdoors; poultry may be reared in barns and kept in cages as laying birds under lighting-controlled conditions. In between these two extremes are semi-intensive, often family-run farms where livestock graze outside for much of the year, silage or hay is made to cover the times of year when the grass stops growing, and fertiliser, feed, and other inputs are brought onto the farm from outside.


Feeding

Animals used as livestock are predominantly
herbivorous A herbivore is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All ...
, the main exceptions being the pig and the chicken which are omnivorous. The herbivores can be divided into "concentrate selectors" which selectively feed on seeds, fruits and highly nutritious young foliage, "grazers" which mainly feed on grass, and "intermediate feeders" which choose their diet from the whole range of available plant material. Cattle, sheep, goats, deer and antelopes are
ruminants Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. The well-known ranks in descending order are: life, ...

ruminants
; they digest food in two steps, chewing and swallowing in the normal way, and then regurgitating the semidigested cud to chew it again and thus extract the maximum possible food value. The dietary needs of these animals is mostly met by eating grass. Grasses grow from the base of the leaf-blade, enabling it to thrive even when heavily grazed or cut. In many climates grass growth is seasonal, for example in the temperate
summer Summer is the hottest of the four temperate In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenom ...

summer
or tropical
rainy season The wet season (sometimes called the rainy season) is the time of year when most of a region's average annual rainfall occurs. Generally, the season lasts at least a month. The term ''green season'' is also sometimes used as a euphemism by tour ...

rainy season
, so some areas of the crop are set aside to be cut and preserved, either as
hay Hay is grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or ...

hay
(dried grass), or as
silage Silage () is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by fermentation (food), fermentation to the point of souring, acidification. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals). The ...
(fermented grass). Other forage crops are also grown and many of these, as well as crop residues, can be ensiled to fill the gap in the nutritional needs of livestock in the lean season. Extensively reared animals may subsist entirely on forage, but more intensively kept livestock will require energy and protein-rich foods in addition. Energy is mainly derived from cereals and cereal by-products, fats and oils and sugar-rich foods, while protein may come from fish or meat meal, milk products,
legumes A legume () is a in the family (or Leguminosae), or the or of such a plant. When used as a dry , the seed is also called a pulse. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for and , and as soil-enhancing . Well-kno ...
and other plant foods, often the by-products of vegetable oil extraction. Pigs and poultry are non-ruminants and unable to digest the
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of glycosidic bond, β(1→4) linked glucose, D-glucose units. Cellulose is an important stru ...

cellulose
in grass and other forages, so they are fed entirely on cereals and other high-energy foodstuffs. The ingredients for the animals' rations can be grown on the farm or can be bought, in the form of pelleted or cubed, compound foodstuffs specially formulated for the different classes of livestock, their growth stages and their specific nutritional requirements. Vitamins and minerals are added to balance the diet. Farmed fish are usually fed pelleted food.


Breeding

The breeding of farm animals seldom occurs spontaneously but is managed by farmers with a view to encouraging traits seen as desirable. These include hardiness, fertility, docility, mothering abilities, fast growth rates, low feed consumption per unit of growth, better body proportions, higher yields, and better fibre qualities. Undesirable traits such as health defects and aggressiveness are selected against. Selective breeding has been responsible for large increases in productivity. For example, in 2007, a typical broiler chicken at eight weeks old was 4.8 times as heavy as a bird of similar age in 1957, while in the thirty years to 2007, the average milk yield of a dairy cow in the United States nearly doubled.


Animal health

Good husbandry, proper feeding, and
hygiene Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmi ...

hygiene
are the main contributors to animal health on the farm, bringing economic benefits through maximised production. When, despite these precautions, animals still become sick, they are treated with
veterinary medicine Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge i ...
s, by the farmer and the
veterinarian A veterinarian (vet), also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a medical professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, managing reproductive health and injuries in non-human animal ...
. In the European Union, when farmers treat their own animals, they are required to follow the guidelines for treatment and to record the treatments given. Animals are susceptible to a number of diseases and conditions that may affect their health. Some, like classical swine fever and
scrapie Scrapie () is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the nervous systems of sheep and goats. It is one of several transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), and as such it is thought to be caused by a prion. Scrapie has been known since ...
are specific to one type of stock, while others, like
foot-and-mouth disease Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organi ...

foot-and-mouth disease
affect all cloven-hoofed animals. Animals living under intensive conditions are prone to internal and external
parasite Parasitism is a Symbiosis, close relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the Host (biology), host, causing it some harm, and is adaptation (biology), adapted structurally to this w ...
s; increasing numbers of sea lice are affecting farmed salmon in Scotland. Reducing the parasite burdens of livestock results in increased productivity and profitability. Where the condition is serious, governments impose regulations on import and export, on the movement of stock,
quarantine A quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people, animals and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arr ...

quarantine
restrictions and the reporting of suspected cases.
Vaccine A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity The adaptive immune system, also referred as the acquired immune system, is a subsystem of the immune system The immune system is a network of biological process ...

Vaccine
s are available against certain diseases, and antibiotics are widely used where appropriate. At one time, antibiotics were routinely added to certain compound foodstuffs to promote growth, but this practice is now frowned on in many countries because of the risk that it may lead to
antimicrobial resistance Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) occurs when microbe A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All ...

antimicrobial resistance
in livestock and in humans. Governments are concerned with
zoonoses A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (bio ...
, diseases that humans may acquire from animals. Wild animal populations may harbour diseases that can affect domestic animals which may acquire them as a result of insufficient
biosecurity Biosecurity refers to measures aimed at preventing the introduction and/or spread of harmful organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embo ...
. An outbreak of
Nipah virus Nipah virus, scientific name ''Nipah henipavirus'', is a bat-borne virus that causes Nipah virus infection in humans and other animals, a disease with a high mortality rate. Numerous disease outbreaks caused by Nipah virus have occurred in South ...
in Malaysia in 1999 was traced back to pigs becoming ill after contact with fruit-eating flying foxes, their faeces and urine. The pigs in turn passed the infection to humans. Avian flu H5N1 is present in wild bird populations and can be carried large distances by migrating birds. This virus is easily transmissible to domestic poultry, and to humans living in close proximity with them. Other infectious diseases affecting wild animals, farm animals and humans include rabies, leptospirosis, brucellosis, Mycobacterium bovis, tuberculosis and trichinosis.


Range of species

There is no single universally agreed definition of which species are livestock. Widely agreed types of livestock include cattle for beef and dairy, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry. Various other species are sometimes considered livestock, such as horses, while poultry birds are sometimes excluded. In some parts of the world, livestock includes species such as buffalo, and the South American camelids, the alpaca and llama. Some authorities use much broader definitions to include fish in
aquaculture Aquaculture (less commonly spelled aquiculture), also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct rel ...
, micro-livestock such as cuniculture, rabbits and rodent farming, rodents like guinea pigs, as well as insects from honey bees to Cricket (insect)#As food, crickets raised for human consumption.


Products

Animals are raised for a wide variety of products, principally
meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular respiratio ...

meat
,
wool Wool is the textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitti ...
,
milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. The requirement for dietary nutrient intake applies to animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that ...

milk
, and
egg An egg is the organic vessel containing the in which an develops until it can survive on its own, at which point the animal hatches. An egg results from of an . Most s, (excluding s), and lay eggs, although some, such as s, do not. eg ...

egg
s, but also including tallow, isinglass and rennet. Animals are also kept for more specialised purposes, such as to produce vaccines and antiserum (containing antibody, antibodies) for medical use. Where fodder or other crops are grown alongside animals, manure can serve as a fertiliser, returning minerals and organic matter to the soil in a semi-closed organic system.


Branches


Dairy

Although all mammals produce milk to nourish their young, the cow is predominantly 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. All these animals have been domesticated over the centuries, being bred for such desirable characteristics as fecundity, productivity, docility and the ability to thrive under the prevailing conditions. Whereas in the past, cattle had multiple functions, modern dairy cow breeding has resulted in specialised Holstein Friesian cattle, Holstein Friesian-type animals that produce large quantities of milk economically. Artificial insemination is widely available to allow farmers to select for the particular traits that suit their circumstances. Whereas in the past, cows were kept in small herds on family farms, grazing pastures and being fed hay in winter, nowadays there is a trend towards larger herds, more intensive systems, the feeding of
silage Silage () is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by fermentation (food), fermentation to the point of souring, acidification. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals). The ...
and "zero grazing", a system where grass is cut and brought to the cow, which is housed year-round. In many communities, milk production is only part of the purpose of keeping an animal which may also be used as a beast of burden or to draw a plough, or for the production of fibre, meat and leather, with the Cow dung, dung being used for fuel or for the improvement of soil fertility. Sheep and goats may be favoured for dairy production in climates and conditions that do not suit dairy cows.


Meat

Meat, mainly from farmed animals, is a major source of dietary protein around the world, averaging about 8% of man's energy intake. The actual types eaten depend on local preferences, availability, cost and other factors, with cattle, sheep, pigs and goats being the main species involved. 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 are more prolific, producing 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. Some desirable traits of animals raised for meat include fecundity, hardiness, fast growth rate, ease of management and high food conversion efficiency. About half of the world's meat is produced from animals grazing on open ranges or on enclosed pastures, the other half being produced intensively in various factory-farming systems; these are mostly cows, pigs or poultry, and often reared indoors, typically at high densities.


Poultry

Poultry, kept for their eggs and for their meat, include chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. The great majority of laying birds used for egg production are chickens. Methods for keeping layers range from free-range systems, where the birds can roam as they will but are housed at night for their own protection, through semi-intensive systems where they are housed in barns and have perches, litter and some freedom of movement, to intensive systems where they are kept in cages. The battery cages are arranged in long rows in multiple tiers, with external feeders, drinkers, and egg collection facilities. This is the most labour saving and economical method of egg production but has been criticised on animal welfare grounds as the birds are unable to exhibit their normal behaviours. In the developed world, the majority of the poultry reared for meat is raised indoors in big sheds, with automated equipment under environmentally controlled conditions. Chickens raised in this way are known as broilers, and genetic improvements have meant that they can be grown to slaughter weight within six or seven weeks of hatching. Newly hatched chicks are restricted to a small area and given supplementary heating. Litter on the floor absorbs the droppings and the area occupied is expanded as they grow. Feed and water is supplied automatically and the lighting is controlled. The birds may be harvested on several occasions or the whole shed may be cleared at one time. A similar rearing system is usually used for turkeys, which are less hardy than chickens, but they take longer to grow and are often moved on to separate fattening units to finish. Ducks are particularly popular in Asia and Australia and can be killed at seven weeks under commercial conditions.


Aquaculture

Aquaculture has been defined as "the farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants and implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or Corporate farming, corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated." In practice it can take place in the sea or in freshwater, and be extensive or intensive. Whole bays, lakes or ponds may be devoted to aquaculture, or the farmed animal may be retained in cages (fish), artificial reefs, racks or strings (shellfish). Fish and prawns can be cultivated in paddy field, rice paddies, either arriving naturally or being introduced, and both crops can be harvested together. Fish hatchery, Fish hatcheries provide larval and juvenile fish, crustaceans and shellfish, for use in aquaculture systems. When large enough these are transferred to growing-on tanks and sold to fish farms to reach harvest size. Some species that are commonly raised in hatcheries include shrimps, prawns, salmon, tilapia, oysters and scallops. Similar facilities can be used to raise species with conservation needs to be released into the wild, or game fish for restocking waterways. Important aspects of husbandry at these early stages include selection of breeding stock, control of water quality and nutrition. In the wild, there is a massive amount of mortality at the nursery stage; farmers seek to minimise this while at the same time maximising growth rates.


Insects

Honey bee, Bees have been kept in hives since at least the First Dynasty of Egypt, five thousand years ago, and man had been harvesting honey from the wild long before that. Fixed comb hives are used in many parts of the world and are made from any locally available material. In more advanced economies, where modern strains of domestic bee have been selected for docility and productiveness, various designs of hive are used which enable the combs to be removed for processing and extraction of honey. Quite apart from the honey and wax they produce, honey bees are important pollinators of crops and wild plants, and in many places hives are transported around the countryside to assist in pollination. Sericulture, the rearing of silkworms, was first adopted by the Chinese during the Shang dynasty. The only species farmed commercially is the domesticated Bombyx mori, silkmoth. When it spins its Pupa#Cocoon, cocoon, each larva produces an exceedingly long, slender thread of silk. The larvae feed on Morus alba, mulberry leaves and in Europe, only one generation is normally raised each year as this is a deciduous tree. In China, Korea and Japan however, two generations are normal, and in the tropics, multiple generations are expected. Most production of silk occurs in the Far East, with a synthetic diet being used to rear the silkworms in Japan. Insects form part of the human diet in many cultures. In Thailand, crickets are farmed for this purpose in the north of the country, and Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, palm weevil larvae in the south. The crickets are kept in pens, boxes or drawers and fed on commercial pelleted poultry food, while the palm weevil larvae live on cabbage palm and sago palm trees, which limits their production to areas where these trees grow. Another delicacy of this region is the Omphisa fuscidentalis, bamboo caterpillar, and the best rearing and harvesting techniques in semi-natural habitats are being studied.


Effects


Environmental impact

Animal husbandry has a significant impact on the world environment. It is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world, and livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth's ice-free land. Livestock production is a contributing factor in species extinction, desertification, and habitat destruction. Animal agriculture contributes to species extinction in various ways. Habitat is destroyed by clearing forests and converting land to grow feed crops and for animal grazing, while predators and herbivores are frequently targeted and hunted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits; for example, animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, deforestation in the Amazon region. In addition, livestock produce greenhouse gases. Cows produce some 570 million cubic metres of methane per day, that accounts for from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. As a result, ways of mitigating animal husbandry's environmental impact are being studied. Strategies include using biogas from manure, genetic selection, immunization, rumen defaunation, outcompetition of methanogenic archaea with acetogens, introduction of Methanotroph , methanotrophic bacteria into the rumen, diet modification and grazing management, among others. Certain diet changes (such as with ''Asparagopsis taxiformis'') allow for a reduction of up to 99% in ruminant greenhouse gas emissions.


Animal welfare

Since the 18th century, people have become increasingly concerned about animal welfare, the welfare of farm animals. Possible measures of welfare include longevity, Ethology, behavior, physiology, reproduction, freedom from disease, and freedom from immunosuppression. Standards and laws for animal welfare have been created worldwide, broadly in line with the most widely held position in the western world, a form of utilitarianism: that it is moral philosophy, morally acceptable for humans to use non-human animals, provided that no unnecessary suffering is caused, and that the benefits to humans outweigh the costs to the livestock. An opposing view is that animal rights, animals have rights, should not be regarded as property, are not necessary to use, and should never be used by humans. Live export of animals has risen to meet increased global demand for livestock such as in the Middle East. Animal rights activists have objected to long-distance transport of animals; one result was the banning of live exports from New Zealand in 2003.


In culture

Since the 18th century, the farmer John Bull has represented English national identity, first in John Arbuthnot's political satires, and soon afterwards in cartoons by James Gillray and others including John Tenniel. He likes food, beer, dogs, horses, and Field sports, country sports; he is practical and down to earth, and anti-intellectual. Farm animals are widespread in books and songs for children; the reality of animal husbandry is often distorted, softened, or idealized, giving children an almost entirely fictitious account of farm life. The books often depict happy animals free to roam in attractive countryside, a picture completely at odds with the realities of the impersonal, mechanized activities involved in modern intensive farming. Pigs, for example, appear in several of Beatrix Potter's "little books", as Piglet in A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories, and somewhat more darkly (with a hint of animals going to slaughter) as Babe in Dick King-Smith's ''The Sheep-Pig'', and as Wilbur in E. B. White's ''Charlotte's Web''. Pigs tend to be "bearers of cheerfulness, good humour and innocence". Many of these books are completely Anthropomorphism, anthropomorphic, dressing farm animals in clothes and having them walk on two legs, live in houses, and perform human activities. The children's music, children's song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" describes a farmer named MacDonald and the various animals he keeps, celebrating the noises they each make. Many urban children experience animal husbandry for the first time at a petting farm; in Britain, some five million people a year visit a farm of some kind. This presents some risk of Zoonosis#Farming, ranching and animal husbandry, infection, especially if children handle animals and then fail to hygiene, wash their hands; a strain of ''E. coli'' infection, infected 93 people who had visited a British interactive farm in an outbreak in 2009. Historic farms such as those in the United States offer farmstays and "a carefully curated version of farming to those willing to pay for it", sometimes giving visitors a romanticised image of a pastoral idyll from an unspecified time in the pre-industrial past.


See also

* Agribusiness * Animal science * Dairy industry in the United States * Dairy industry in the United Kingdom * Food vs. feed * Zootechnics * Wildlife farming


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* Saltini, Antonio. ''Storia delle scienze agrarie'', 4 vols, Bologna 1984–89, . * Juliet Clutton-Brock, Clutton Brock, Juliet. ''The walking larder. Patterns of domestication, pastoralism and predation'', Unwin Hyman, London 1988. * Juliet Clutton-Brock, Clutton Brock, Juliet. ''Horse power: a history of the horse and donkey in human societies'', National history Museum publications, London 1992. * George Fleming (veterinarian), Fleming, George; Guzzoni, M. ''Storia cronologica delle epizoozie dal 1409 av. Cristo sino al 1800'', in Gazzetta medico-veterinaria, I–II, Milano 1871–72. * Hall, S; Juliet Clutton-Brock, Clutton Brock, Juliet. ''Two hundred years of British farm livestock'', Natural History Museum Publications, London 1988. * Janick, Jules; Noller, Carl H.; Rhyker, Charles L. ''The Cycles of Plant and Animal Nutrition'', in Food and Agriculture, Scientific American Books, San Francisco 1976. * Manger, Louis N. ''A History of the Life Sciences'', M. Dekker, New York, Basel 2002.


External links


Animal husbandry practices – National Animal Interest Alliance
{{Authority control Animal husbandry,