Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry

Overview
Animal husbandry is the agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 practice of breeding
Animal breeding
Animal breeding is a branch of animal science that addresses the evaluation of the genetic value of domestic livestock...

 and raising livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

.

Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals.

In more modern times, the cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s of North America, charro
Charro
Charro is a term referring to a traditional horseman from Mexico, originating in the central-western regions primarily in the state of Jalisco including: Zacatecas, Durango, Guanajuato, Morelos, Puebla...

s of Mexico, or vaqueros, gauchos, huaso
Huaso
A huaso is a Chilean countryman and skilled horseman, similar to the Argentinian, Rio Grande do Sul's or Uruguayan gaucho, the American cowboy, the Australian stockman, and Mexican vaquero and charro. A female huaso is called a huasa, although the term china is far more commonly used for his wife...

s of South America, and farmers or stockmen of Australia tend their herds on horses, all-terrain vehicle
All-terrain vehicle
An all-terrain vehicle , also known as a quad, quad bike, three wheeler, or four wheeler, is defined by the American National Standards Institute as a vehicle that travels on low pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control...

s, motorbikes, in four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 (4WD) vehicles and helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

s, depending on the terrain and livestock concerned.

Today, herd managers often oversee thousands of animals and many staff.
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Encyclopedia
Animal husbandry is the agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 practice of breeding
Animal breeding
Animal breeding is a branch of animal science that addresses the evaluation of the genetic value of domestic livestock...

 and raising livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

.

History


Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals.

In more modern times, the cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s of North America, charro
Charro
Charro is a term referring to a traditional horseman from Mexico, originating in the central-western regions primarily in the state of Jalisco including: Zacatecas, Durango, Guanajuato, Morelos, Puebla...

s of Mexico, or vaqueros, gauchos, huaso
Huaso
A huaso is a Chilean countryman and skilled horseman, similar to the Argentinian, Rio Grande do Sul's or Uruguayan gaucho, the American cowboy, the Australian stockman, and Mexican vaquero and charro. A female huaso is called a huasa, although the term china is far more commonly used for his wife...

s of South America, and farmers or stockmen of Australia tend their herds on horses, all-terrain vehicle
All-terrain vehicle
An all-terrain vehicle , also known as a quad, quad bike, three wheeler, or four wheeler, is defined by the American National Standards Institute as a vehicle that travels on low pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control...

s, motorbikes, in four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 (4WD) vehicles and helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

s, depending on the terrain and livestock concerned.

Today, herd managers often oversee thousands of animals and many staff. Farms, stations
Station (Australian agriculture)
Station is the term for a large Australian landholding used for livestock production. It corresponds to the North American term ranch or South American estancia...

 and ranches may employ breeders, herd health specialists, feeders, and milkers to help care for the animals.

Techniques


Techniques such as artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

 and embryo transfer
Embryo transfer
Embryo transfer refers to a step in the process of assisted reproduction in which embryos are placed into the uterus of a female with the intent to establish a pregnancy...

 are frequently used today, not only as methods to guarantee that females breed regularly but also to help improve herd genetics.

This may be done by transplanting embryos from stud
Stud (animal)
A stud animal is a registered animal retained for breeding. The terms for the male of a given animal species usually imply that the animal is entire—that is, not castrated—and therefore capable of siring offspring...

-quality females into flock-quality surrogate mothers - freeing up the stud-quality mother to be reimpregnated. This practice vastly increases the number of offspring which may be produced by a small selection of stud-quality parent animals. On the one hand, this improves the ability of the animals to convert feed to meat, milk, or fibre more efficiently, and improve the quality of the final product. On the other, it decreases genetic diversity
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary....

, increasing the severity of disease outbreaks among other risks.

See also

  • Aquaculture
    Aquaculture
    Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

  • Cowman (profession)
    Cowman (profession)
    A cowman is a person who works specifically with cattle.-Usage:Usage of the word "cowman" has significant geographic variation, though is sometimes used interchangeably with terms such as "stockman", "cattleman", "rancher" and "grazier."...

  • Domestication of animals
  • Meat and milk
  • National Block and Bridle Club
  • Pastoral nomads
  • Sheep husbandry
    Sheep husbandry
    Sheep husbandry is a subcategory of animal husbandry specifically dealing with the raising and breeding of domestic sheep. Sheep farming is primarily based on raising lambs for meat, or raising sheep for wool. Sheep may also be raised for milk or to sell to other farmers.-Shelter and...

  • Shepherd
    Shepherd
    A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.- Origins :Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and especially their wool...

  • Stockman (Australia)
  • Transhumance
    Transhumance
    Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and to lower valleys in winter. Herders have a permanent home, typically in valleys. Only the herds travel, with...


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