Animal Husbandry  


One of the burning issue across many parts of the world is the hunger . Aroung 60% of the children are suffering from food crisis due to the non-availability of food or the poor nutrients in the available food. Food shortage is linked with many factros such as population exploision, corruption, but most importantly, poor and unscientific farming practices. To tackle the current shortage, variety of techniques are being used by the farmers from time to time. Some of them are artificial poultry, tissue culture,  hybrid plant breeding techniques, production of  single-cell proteins ,tissue culture and animal husbandry techniques. This post is to take you through the basic concepts of animal husbandry. 


Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry is the branch of science deals with the scientific practices of cattle breeding  such as cows, goats and sheep. In general, it is the scientific method of selective breeding and livestock raising to meet the chronic food shortage. In India, agriculture and poultry are highly in demand because as many as  65% of the total population of our country rely on agriculture and its related sectors for their jobs. About 70% of the world`s livestock is supplied only by India and China. Some of the activities of farming and animal husbandry techniques that India is practicing are the scientific production, processing, and distribution of products such as milk, meat, fish, eggs, wool, and hides. Animal husbandry is  the science and art that requires knowledge about seed selection, breed selection, and provision of special feeds for the cattle. Government of India is lending several loans,and many skill training facilities under various schemes of the farming. From ancient times, India is well known to contribute bout 25% of the world`s farm produce. Nevertheless, our productivity per unit is very low when compared to other countries. Poor results in the farming industry is linked with the application of outdated and conventional breeding practices.

Management of Farms and Farm Animals

A successful farming technique is based on the integration of principles of both the scientific and the traditional practices . Farmers must be insisted to adapt a technique that produces good yeild and best quality product  at a reasonable cost. Some of the measures to enhance the productivity of farming and poultry are explained below.


Dairy Farm Management

Dairy farming is the most profitable occupation if it is practiced scientifically. Dairy farming involves the care and management of milk-producing animals; cows, goats, sheep etc. A variety of dairy products can be produced with the help of scientific dairy farming techniques. Most common dairy products are milk, butter, cheese, ghee and cheese among others.  Dairy farming is an art and  science involved in rearing cattle, treating their illnesses, milking, sterilizing (processing), pasteurization, storing and transportation of milk in a safe and quick way. In order to be profitable, the best breeds must be selected in place that gives a reliable yield.  Some of the popular cattle breeds are Holstein-Friesian, Norwegian red cattle, jersey etc. When choosing a breed, it is important to keep in mind about their health status, ability to resist harsh climatic conditions, and their capacity to adapt to the local foods.Moreover, the purity of the breeds must be ensured to safeguard the consumers. 


Tips for cattle care

  1. In order to obtain a better quality and quantity of desired dairy products, cows must be reared in a clean and hygienic breeding home free from stagnated dung. The stagnated places can attract mosquitoes and flies resulting in many diseases.

  2. The water source used for cattle care and feeding must be tested for their cleanliness and  adequacy.

  3. The cattle feed must be balanced with a variety of mixtures such as the natural grass, hay, leaves, artificial feeds approved for the safe usage.  The feeding formulae should be carried out in a scientific manner so that the chance of adverse effects must be little to none. A proper emphasis must be given on the quality and quantity of fodder.

  4. In addition to the cleanliness of the cattle and its environment, the handlers must always maintain proper personal hygiene and hand hygiene before milking .

  5. A proper and regular vigilance by a veterinary Doctor to vaccinate every individual cattle is mandatory as it can help to prevent the communicable diseases 

  6.  A great caution must be exercised while exposing the cattle to sunlight. They must be monitored regularly while washing, drying, feeding and milking.


Managing a poultry farm

Poultry is probably one of the largest food source in the world as the number of people consuming non-vegetarian food is growing day by day. Poultry is all about rearing some domesticated fowl (birds) to produce healthy meat and eggs. The most common poultry items are chicken, ducks and turkey. 


Poultry diseases and issues

A poultry manager must be aware of various factors influencing the quality and quantity of yield. He must be knowledgeable to manage predators, nutritional deficiencies, poor air quality, fluctuation in the atmospheric temperature and physical stress. It is also essential to keep a check on  vermins, insects, rodents and darkling beetles. Poultry birds are vulnerable to various disease conditions like fevers and infections hence a stategic plan must be in place to manage them. It is important to analyze the purity of breeds that can resist against common infections. The caretaker must help in the proper and safe environment of poultry farm, healthy feeding and clean water. A timely management of viral, bacterial, fungal infections can help to produce quality output. Regular examination of the animals for seasonal bird flue  can make a difference in the quality and quantity of yield. 


Animal Breeding techniques

A breed is a group of animals related by common descent having similar features such as height, colour, skin type, fur, body configuration, etc. Animal breeding is an important aspect of animal husbandry. Scientific breeding can result in the superior progeny that has highest chances of  survival for longer times. Animal breeding techniques operate on the principles of genetics-Mendelian laws. Breeding techniques can be divided into inbreeding, outbreeding, cross-breeding, interspecific hybridization, etc. Let us discuss various breeding techniques in practice.


1. Inbreeding: Inbreeding is when the mating occurs between more closely related individuals belonging to the same breed from the past 4-6 generations. Before inbreeding, it is essential to prepare the objectives at the earliest stage as it can ensure the fertilization of the most superior male with the finest quality female. The breeds must be checked for health issues before mating. Resulting progeny should be properly evaluated and categorized for future reference. A superior breed performs better in all aspects such as yield and quality of meat and milk. Inbreeding technique can ascertain the purity and homozygosity of animals because, there is no crossing between the 2 farther breeds. Therefore, chances of contamination with the undesirable gene pairs are low. However, a prolonged inbreeding can result in poor productivity which is called breed depression. The best time where outbreeding should be switched in place of inbreeding is after 4-5 successive inbreedings are carried out and breed depression is evident.


2. Out-breeding

A good outbreeding practice results in a diverse and productive progeny. An out-breeding is the crossing between the 2 unrelated animals of 2 different and  distant breeds .It is similar to the cross-breeding. Although it is effective, but breed depression can produce a progeny  that demonstrates poor survival and fitness rates.


3. Out-crossing

Out-crossing is a bit different than outbreeding because unlike the other methods, mating is done between the 2 animals within the same breed. But the parental breeds may not belong to the common ancestry either form the father or mother from the past -6 generations. Progeny produced by this breeding is called an out-cross. Out-crossing is indicated when the breeds start yielding the below average results during their regular breeding.


4. Cross-breeding

It is also known as the designer crossbreeding. This occurs when both the parents have never undergone cross-breeding earlier and the resulting offspring shares the common characteristics from both lineages. The main aim of crossbreeding is to maintain the health and viability of organisms.However, a neglible error made during mating can result in the inferior quality of breed. The resulting offspring of a crossbred animal is called a hybrid. A hybrid can be once again crossed by using inbreeding technique as it can ascertain to produce better yield, For example, Hisardale sheep is a hybrid formed by crossing Bikaneri ewes and Marino rams.


5.  Interspecific hybridization

Interspecific hybridization is the process through which mating is done by using 2 different species of animals, for example- mule is obtained after crossing the donkey and horse. The resulting progeny may have the combination of desirable features of both the parents ensuring considerable economic value. Another example of Interspecific hybridization is the birth of Liger by mating between a male lion and a female tiger. Furthermore, crossing between zebra and donkey forms a new breed called zonkey. 


Interspecific hybridization-Methodology 

During interspecific hybridization, a controlled breeding is carried out using the artificial insemination technique(a process of collecting a healthy semen and preserving safely). The collected semen is injected into the reproductive tract of the selected female. Later on, the crossed animal must be supervised to see whether the artificial insemination is successful or not. This can be ensured by confirming pregnancy status through pregnancy test. Depending upon the parental age, health of their zygotes, and environmental conditions,  a breed can be decided. The success rate of crossing mature male and female animals is fairly low ,therefore, to improve the chances of a successful production of hybrids,  Multiple Ovulation Embryo Transfer Technology (MOET) is used. It is a popular programme for herd improvement practiced in many communities. During MOET, a cow is being administered with the hormones, like FSH. Hormonal therapy can produce 6-8 eggs instead of single egg hence there is lesser chances of failure of fertilisation. In the meantime, the animal is either mated with an elite bull or it can be artificially inseminated. In the next phase, the fertilized egg is recovered while the embryo is at the 8-32 cells stage of cell division. The developing progeny is non- surgically transferred to surrogate mothers. High milk- yielding breeds of females and high quality (lean meat with less lipid) meat-yielding bulls have been bred successfully through this method to increase herd size in a short time.


Read More


Animal Kingdom            


Structure and functions of cell    


Mendel`s experiments                          


Transgenic animals


Check your understanding 

  1. What is inbreeding?

  2. Differentiate between outbreeding and outcrossing.

  3. Write any 4 tips to manage cattle.

  4. What is multiple ovulation embryo transfer?






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