Animal husbandry is the caring and breeding of domestic animals by humans, such as cattle, pigs, sheep and horses. Animal husbandry includes grooming, accommodations, and hygiene of the animals. Animal husbandry may also consist of specialized breeding in order to obtain a desirable characteristic, such as strength, temperament, increased production of by-products, or bone structure of the intended animal. Farmers, ranchers, and sheepherders practice animal husbandry as well as those who take care of large herds of livestock.
Animal husbandry began with the transition of humans becoming farmers with the keeping and caring for the animals versus being hunter-gatherers. Humans had to learn the animal’s needs and habits, provide protection from predators, as well as learn how to prevent disease and other ailments.
Several universities offer degrees in animal husbandry for those wanting to make a career out of caring for animals. Other areas of study include veterinary medicine, animal pharmacy, or feed manufacturing. Specialty studies, such as preventing mastitis in cows are also addressed in animal husbandry.
Outside of the agricultural community, animals are raised for medical research, such as testing of new drugs and chemicals. These animals need to be kept in a controlled environment, with identical conditions such as temperature, lighting, food, and water, in order to make an informed analysis of the research.
Animal husbandry is one of the more important occupations in India. India is home to 55 percent of the total buffalo in the world, totaling 84 million (as of a 1992 census) along with over 205 million cattle. The farm, farmer, and farm animal creates a well-balanced ecosystem utilizing the animals to their full potential including selling any by-product such as milk, meat, or eggs, as well as using the manure in the fields. Animals such as the ox, buffalo and camel are used in the fields for working the soil and harvesting the crops.
It has been noted that the domestication of livestock took place as early as 9000BC in Northern Iran with first sheep and then goats, followed by pigs, cattle, and horses. The selective breeding to improve the quality of the livestock has been in practice since the Roman times.
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