Animal Husbandry  

Animal husbandry



 The world is being driven to a state of hunger and chronic food crisis because of increased population, corruption and inequitable income distribution among the various class of people. To tackle the current demands of food shortage, a number of techniques being used like artificial poultry, tissue culture, Scientific method of hybrid plant breeding, single-cell proteins tissue culture and animal husbandry techniques.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Animal husbandry

3. Management of Farms and Farm Animals

4. Dairy Farm Management

5. Tips for cattle care

6. Managing a poultry farm

7. Poultry diseases and issues

8. Animal Breeding

   8.1  Inbreeding

   8.2 Out-breeding

   8.3  Out-crossing

   8.4 Cross-breeding 

   8.5 Interspecific hybridization

9. Interspecific hybridization-Methodology 


Animal husbandry

It is the branch of science that deals with the practice of breeding, farming and care of domestic animals such as cattle, dogs, sheep, etc. In general, it is the livestock raising and selective breeding that helps to cover the food shortage. In India, agriculture and poultry are highly demanding occupations. About 65% of the population depend on these jobs and also more than 70% of livestock is supplied by India and China. Some of the activities of farming and animal husbandry include production, processing, and distribution of milk, meat, fish, eggs, wool, and hides. The process of animal husbandry is both the science and art requiring knowledge on various areas like seed selection, breed selection, requirements like environment for them, special feeds for the cattle, etc. Government of India is providing various loans, skill training facilities under various schemes. From ancient times, India is one of the leading nations that is supplying various farming and poultry products throughout the world. Unfortunately, the contribution of India to the world farm produce is just 25 %, in other words, productivity per unit is very low. This is due to the poor and conventional breeding practices and the lack of technology in breeding techniques.

Management of Farms and Farm Animals

A successful farming is the integration of natural sciences with traditional practices that enhances both the yield and the quality. 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 done scientifically. It involves the management of milk-producing animals like cows, goats, sheep for milk and milk products like butter, cheese, ghee, etc.  Dairy farming is a science involved in rearing cattle, treating their illnesses, milking, sterilizing (processing) by pasteurization, storing and transportation of milk and its related products. .For better production, the best breeds must be selected. Some of the popular cattle breeds like Holstein-Friesian, Norwegian red cattle, jersey etc. When choosing a breed, it is important to consider their health status, resistance against harsh climatic conditions, and adaptation to the local foods, genetically strong characters are important.


Tips for cattle care

  1. In order to obtain a better quality and quantity of desired dairy products, cows must be reared carefully by providing all the amenities. Firstly the breeding home must be clean, free from stagnated dung which can attract mosquitoes and flies. There must be clean, adequate water and also the containers used for storing and serving food must be clean.

  2. To get the balanced diet for cattle, the feeds must be a mix of natural grass, hay, leaves, artificial feeds that are approved for usage.  The feeding formulae should be carried out in a scientific manner that is free from adverse effects. A special emphasis must be made on the quality and quantity of fodder.

  3. In addition to the cattle being clean, the handlers must also maintain proper personal hygiene, hand hygiene before feeding and, milking. 

  4. There must be proper vigilance by a veterinary Doctor regularly to vaccinate every individual cattle because some of the infections can be easily spread from one animal to another. 

  5.  A great caution must be exercised to ensure to expose the cattle to sunlight, wash them, dry and make them feel comfortable.


Managing a poultry farm

Poultry is probably one of the largest food source as the number of people consuming non-vegetarian food is increasing day by day. It is all about rearing some domesticated fowl (birds) for the purpose of meat and eggs. The most common poultry items are chicken, ducks, turkey, geese and rarely. They typically include chicken and ducks, and sometimes turkey and goose and fowl. Although poultry is a term referred to as domesticated birds, it can also be some wild birds.


Poultry diseases and issues

A poultry manager must look at factors like injury, nutritional deficiencies, poor air quality, temperature extremes, physical stress and exposure to vermin, insects, rodents and darkling beetles. Poultry birds are vulnerable to various conditions like fevers, infections, and predators if they are poorly bred. They must be carefully chosen in terms of breed, health condition at birth, and other factors. The caretaker must provide proper and safe farm conditions, healthy feed, clean water and timely management of viral, bacterial, fungal infections. On many occasions, bird flu might harm the whole community and in such cases, the bird must be immediately isolated and informed to the veterinary doctor.


Animal Breeding

 Breeding of animals is an important aspect of animal husbandry. Breeding can result in superior progeny with improved traits. Breeding works on the principles of genetics-Mendelian laws. A breed a group of animals related by descent having similar features like external morphological factors like height, colour, skin type, fur, body configuration, etc. Breeding can be inbreeding, outbreeding, cross-breeding, interspecific hybridization, etc.


1. Inbreeding: Inbreeding is when the mating occurs between more closely related individuals belonging to the same breed from the past 4-6 generations. In this case, the objective of breeding must be drawn, the most superior males and superior females must be gathered together and they must be checked for any health issues and then the mating must be done. Resulting progeny obtained from such mating needs to be evaluated and further classify them as superior males and females which can again be mated for better future progeny. A superior refers to the one that is performing better in the form of a good yield of meat, milk, or any other products, for example, a cow with quality milk production or a bullock which is strong and producing quality semen. Inbreeding is pure and it is best if we want to have homozygous traits in an animal. Since there is no crossing between farther breeds, chances of contamination or the transmission undesirable gene pairs are low. So, the gene quality seems to be superior and original however, a prolonged inbreeding can result in poor productivity and this is known as breed depression. It is advisable to outbreed when the interbreeding frequency has gone beyond 4-6 generations.


2. Out-breeding: An outbreeding produces diversity and good productivity. A crossing that occurs with an unrelated animal that have no common ancestors is called outbreeding. Outbreeding can also occur between 2 different breeds or distant breeds then, such crossing is called cross-breeding –a variant in the outbreeding. Outbreeding depression occurs when the progeny resulting from mating between genetically distant individuals (outcrossing) demonstrates a lower fitness.


3. Out-crossing: It is a bit different than outbreeding because in this case, the mating is done between the 2 animals within the same breed, but having no common ancestors from either the male side or from the female side for up to 4-6 generations. Progeny produced by this breeding is called an out-cross. Out-crossing is best recommended when animals are producing their yield-products below average when compared to the standards against the same breeds. 


4. Cross-breeding or designer crossbreeding: This occurs when a crossbreed occurs between 2 purely bred parents (parents must not cross-bred earlier) of two different breeds, varieties, or populations. It is also called "designer crossbreeding", that attempts to bring the offspring shared traits of both parent lineages. Although, crossbreeding is used to maintain the health and viability of organisms but any error made during mating can produce the organisms of inferior quality. In other words, it can lead to dilution of a purebred gene pool to the point of extinction. The resulting offspring is called a hybrid. A hybrid can be again subjected to inbreeding to produce better yield, For example, Hisardale sheep is a hybrid brought out of crossing Bikaneri ewes and Marino rams.


5.  Interspecific hybridization: It is the process through which mating is done by using 2 different species of animals, for example- mule is the hybrid of donkey and horse. The resulting progeny may have the combination of desirable features of both the parents that might give a considerable economic value. Some of the other examples include Hinny as a result of breeding between a male horse x female donkey, Liger as a result of a mating between male lion x female tiger and also crossing between zebra and donkey called as zonkey. Even in the plant species, it is the most useful technique to get better results.


Interspecific hybridization-Methodology 

Controlled breeding is carried out by using artificial insemination (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 on whether the artificial insemination was successful or not. This can be ensured by confirming pregnancy status.  There may be a chance of failure due to various reasons like age of the parental zygotes, health status, conditions under which breeding is carried out, etc. Often, the success rate of crossing mature male and female animals is fairly low even though artificial insemination is carried out. So, to improve the chances of a successful production of hybrids, other means like Multiple Ovulation Embryo Transfer Technology (MOET) is used. It is a Programme for herd improvement. In this method, a cow is being administered hormones, like FSH which induces a follicular activity in the uterus, so instead of one egg in a cycle, there are around 6-8 eggs.  In the meantime, the animal is either mated with an elite bull or artificially inseminated. The next stage is recovering the fertilized egg when it is dividing at 8–32 cells stages and then the fertilized product is non- surgically transferred to surrogate mothers. This technology has been demonstrated for cattle, sheep, rabbits, buffaloes, mares, etc. High milk- yielding breeds of females and high quality (lean meat with less lipid) meat-yielding bulls have been bred successfully to increase herd size in a short time.




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