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Animal Husbandry

Animal Husbandry pertains to breeding, feeding, and management of animals, or livestock, for the production of food, fiber, work, and pleasure. Modern methods concentrate on one type of animal in large, efficient farming units that generate animal products at the highest rate of return for investment. Intensive husbandry conditions include large numbers of animals in small lots, enriched feed, growth stimulation by various means, and vaccination against disease. Most of the world’s domestic animals, however, are raised in small units under less efficient conditions and at lower rates of return.

Animals furnish more than one-fourth of the world’s total value of agricultural products. They supply a much higher proportion of human food in the developed countries than elsewhere. In the United States, animal products account for more than one-half of the total agricultural income.

Traditional husbandry practices are closely associated with the degree of control needed over the animals that are kept and with the uses to which they are put. Most domesticated animals have multiple uses; for example, animals kept primarily for work also supply milk, meat, and clothing materials. The animals and their uses, however, are closely associated with the culture and experience of the people who care for them. In some regions of the world, cattle are not considered for use in the production of food. Studies have shown that the work power, fertilizer, milk, and the fuel from dung that the cattle provide in these regions are more efficient animal products than meat. Analysis of other cultural practices has often revealed unexpected efficiency of use fitted to local circumstances.

related topics:
• Draft Animals
• Sheep and Goats
• Cattle
• Poultry