Animal Husbandry

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

 

  • Animal husbandry is an integral agricultural practice focused on breeding and nurturing livestock. 
  • It includes diverse animals like buffaloes, cows, pigs, horses, cattle, sheep, camels, and goats. 
  • Extends to poultry farming, fisheries (fish, mollusks, crustaceans). 
  • Humans historically used animals like bees, silk-worms, prawns, crabs, fishes, birds, pigs, cattle, sheep, camels. 
  • To derive essential products like milk, eggs, meat, wool, silk, and honey. 
  • India and China host over 70% of the world's livestock. 
  • Their combined contribution to global farm produce is only 25%. 
  •  Animal husbandry yields products like milk, eggs, meat, wool, silk, honey. 
  • Low productivity per unit is a challenge. 
  • Integration of newer technologies crucial for improved quality and productivity. 
  • Balancing traditional practices with modern technologies is vital for addressing productivity gaps in animal husbandry. 

 

 

 

 

 

Dairy Farm Management 

 

  • Dairying involves managing animals for milk and its products for human consumption. 
  • Cattle are central to a dairy, with breeds selected for high yield and disease resistance. 
  • Well-maintained conditions for cattle include proper housing, adequate water, and disease prevention. 
  • Milk yield depends on the quality of breeds. 
  • Selection of high-yielding breeds adapted to local climatic conditions is crucial. 
  • Feeding cattle should follow a scientific approach, emphasizing both quality and quantity of fodder. 
  • Paramount importance on cleanliness and hygiene during milking, storage, and transport. 
  • Modern mechanization minimizes direct contact of produce with handlers. 
  • Many dairy processes have become mechanized for efficiency and reduced human contact. 
  • Ensures product quality and safety. 
  • Stringent measures and regular inspections are essential. 
  • Proper record-keeping aids in identifying and rectifying problems promptly. 
  • Regular visits by a veterinary doctor are mandatory for animal health and well-being.

 

 

Poultry Farm Management

 

  • Poultry refers to domesticated fowl (birds) used for food or eggs, including chicken, ducks, turkey, and geese. 

 

 

  • Primarily involves chicken and ducks, but the term can extend to meat from other birds. 
  • Similar to dairy farming, poultry farm management emphasizes:

- Selection of disease-free and suitable breeds.

- Maintenance of proper and safe farm conditions.

- Provision of appropriate feed and water.

- Implementation of hygiene and health care practices. 

  • Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection affecting domesticated fowl used for food or eggs. 
  • Commonly observed in chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. 
  • Incidents of bird flu trigger panic reactions, leading to a significant decline in egg and chicken consumption. 
  • Preventive Measures:

- Early Detection and Isolation:

Swift identification and isolation of infected birds are crucial.

Isolation prevents the rapid spread of the virus within flocks. 

- Biosecurity Measures:

Implementation of strict biosecurity measures on poultry farms.

Restricted access, sanitation, and hygiene practices to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus. 

- Monitoring and Reporting:

Regular monitoring for any signs of avian influenza.

Immediate reporting of suspected cases to relevant authorities. 

- Education and Awareness:

Educate farmers and the public on preventive practices.

Awareness campaigns to emphasize the importance of biosecurity measures. 

- Regular Veterinary Inspections:

Regular visits by veterinary doctors are essential for early detection of any health issues.

Prompt identification and rectification of problems contribute to overall flock health.

                  

Animal Breeding

 

  • Breeding is a fundamental aspect of animal husbandry, aiming to selectively propagate desirable traits in livestock. 
  • The process involves controlled mating to improve the quality and productivity of the offspring. 
  • The primary goal is to enhance the yield and improve desirable characteristics of the animals, tailoring them to specific agricultural purposes. 
  • Traits considered for breeding include yield, general appearance, features, size, and configuration. 
  • The choice of characters may vary depending on the type of animal and its intended purpose. 
  • A breed signifies a group of animals related by descent, sharing common traits like appearance, features, size, and configuration. 
  • Local research is essential to identify common breeds in the region. 
  • Breeding significantly contributes to the genetic improvement of livestock, enhancing productivity and adaptability to specific environmental conditions. 
  • Different breeds serve diverse purposes in agriculture, and breeding practices align with the intended use, whether for dairy, meat, or other agricultural products. 
  • Regular assessment of breeding programs is imperative to ensure progress. 
  • Adaptations are made based on changing agricultural needs and environmental conditions. 

 

 

Inbreeding

 

  • Inbreeding refers to the mating of more closely related individuals within the same breed for 4-6 generations. 
  • Superior males and females within the same breed are identified and paired for mating. 
  • Progeny from these matings are evaluated, and superior individuals are selected for further breeding. 
  • In cattle, a superior female is one that produces more milk per lactation. 
  • A superior male, or bull, is selected based on its ability to produce superior progeny compared to others. 
  • Similar to Mendel's strategy in developing homozygous purelines. 
  •  Inbreeding increases homozygosity in animals. 
  • Homo = Same; Zygous = Gene loci. 
  • Homozygosity refers to the state of having identical alleles at corresponding gene loci on homologous chromosomes. 
  • Inbreeding exposes harmful recessive genes, which can be eliminated through selection. 
  • It accumulates superior genes and eliminates less desirable ones. 
  • Productivity of the inbred population is increased through careful selection at each step. 
  • Continued inbreeding, especially close inbreeding, may lead to reduced fertility and productivity known as inbreeding depression.

 

 

 

  • To address fertility and productivity issues, selected animals should be mated with unrelated superior animals of the same breed. 
  • This practice helps restore fertility and yield.

 

 

 

Outbreeding

 

  • Outbreeding refers to the breeding of unrelated animals, involving individuals with no common ancestors for 4-6 generations. 
  • Introduces genetic diversity into the population, countering the potential negative effects of inbreeding. 
  • Benefits of Outbreeding:

- Hybrid Vigor:

Results in hybrid vigor or heterosis, where the offspring may exhibit enhanced traits compared to the parent breeds. 

- Increased Adaptability:

Greater adaptability to diverse environmental conditions due to increased genetic diversity. 

- Reduced Expression of Recessive Alleles:

Dilutes the expression of harmful recessive alleles, reducing the risk of genetic disorders. 

  • Continuous monitoring and selection are crucial to maintain and enhance desirable traits while managing genetic diversity. 
  • Commonly employed in livestock farming to improve traits such as milk yield, meat quality, and disease resistance.

 

 

 

Outcrossing

 

  • Out-crossing involves mating animals within the same breed but with no common ancestors up to 4-6 generations in their pedigrees. 
  • Ensures genetic diversity by avoiding shared ancestors within the specified generational range. 
  • The offspring resulting from such a mating is termed an out-cross. 
  • Ideal for animals with below-average productivity in traits like milk production or beef cattle growth rate. 
  • Particularly beneficial for overcoming inbreeding depression. 
  • A single out-cross can significantly contribute to overcoming the negative effects of inbreeding depression. 
  • Refreshing the gene pool reduces the risk of harmful recessive traits. 
  • Benefits of Out-crossing:

- Genetic Diversity:

Introduces genetic variability, mitigating the risk of recessive alleles and enhancing overall genetic health. 

- Productivity Improvement:

Effective for below-average individuals, enhancing traits like milk production or growth rate. 

- Commonly applied in livestock breeding, particularly for individuals with diminished productivity. 

- Utilized to rejuvenate and diversify the genetic makeup of the population. 

  • Timing is crucial, and out-crossing is strategically employed when the need for genetic diversity arises. 
  • Continuous monitoring ensures that out-crossing aligns with breeding objectives and maintains genetic health. 
  • Selective breeding follows to retain desirable traits in the population.

 

 

Crossbreeding

 

  • Cross-breeding involves mating superior males of one breed with superior females of another breed, aiming to combine desirable qualities from both breeds. 
  • Allows the integration of favorable traits from two different breeds, aiming for a hybrid that exhibits the best qualities of its parent breeds. 
  • Progeny from cross-breeding can be further subjected to inbreeding and selection to develop new stable breeds. 
  • This selective process aims to create breeds superior to the existing ones. 
  • Benefits of Cross-breeding:

- Trait Combination:

Results in hybrid offspring with a combination of desirable traits from both parent breeds. 

- Improved Commercial Production:

Hybrid animals may be utilized for commercial production, capitalizing on the enhanced characteristics. 

- Widely employed in livestock farming to enhance specific traits such as milk production, meat quality, or resistance to diseases. 

  • Genetic compatibility and the selection of superior individuals from each breed are crucial. 
  • Careful planning is necessary to maximize the benefits and avoid undesirable outcomes. 
  • Examples of Cross-breeding - Hisardale Sheep:

- Developed in Punjab by crossing Bikaneri ewes with Marino rams. 

- Illustrates the success of cross-breeding in creating new, improved breeds. 

  • Cross-breeding contributes to genetic diversity, mitigating the risks associated with inbreeding and promoting overall population health.

 

 

 

Interspecific hybridization 

  • Interspecific hybridization involves mating male and female animals of two different but related species. 
  • The goal is to produce offspring that may combine desirable features from both parent species, potentially possessing considerable economic value. 
  • Example: The Mule:

- Mule Formation: One notable example of interspecific hybridization is the creation of the mule. A mule is the offspring of a male donkey (Equus asinus) and a female horse (Equus ferus caballus). 

- Mules typically exhibit favorable traits such as strength and endurance inherited from donkeys, combined with the size and agility inherited from horses. 

- Mules are often valued for their hardiness, strength, and utility in various tasks like agriculture and transportation. 

- The hybrid vigor observed in mules is a result of interspecific hybridization.

 

 

 

  • Another example of interspecific hybridisation is Liger which is an offspring of a female tiger and a male lion. 
  • Interspecific hybridization may pose challenges due to genetic differences between species. 
  • Fertility and viability of the offspring can vary, and some hybrids may be sterile. 
  • Beyond mules, interspecific hybridization is explored for potential economic benefits in agriculture, research, and other fields. 
  • Strategic selection of parent species is essential to maximize the desired characteristics in the hybrid offspring. 
  • Continuous breeding and selection contribute to the improvement of interspecific hybrids.

 

Artificial insemination

 

  • Artificial insemination involves collecting semen from a chosen male and injecting it into the reproductive tract of a selected female by the breeder. 
  • Semen can be used immediately, frozen for future use, or transported to where the female is housed. 
  • Semen can be frozen and stored for extended periods, preserving the genetic material of superior males. 
  • Facilitates the use of genetic material even after the male is no longer available for natural mating. 
  • Advantages Over Natural Matings:

- Controlled Breeding:

Allows precise control over mating choices, ensuring desirable genetic traits are passed on. 

- Overcoming Geographical Barriers:

Enables mating between animals located at a distance, overcoming geographical constraints. Facilitates the global exchange of elite genetic material, allowing breeders to access superior genetics from various locations. 

- Selective Breeding:

Enhances the ability to select superior males for breeding. Allows breeders to choose males with specific desirable traits, contributing to genetic improvement. 

- Disease Control:

Minimizes the risk of disease transmission that can occur through natural mating. Enables breeders to control and monitor the health status of the breeding animals. 

- Optimized Timing:

Enables precise timing of insemination for maximum reproductive efficiency. Overcomes challenges associated with natural mating, where timing can be unpredictable. 

  • Ensures a consistent and standardized approach to breeding, minimizing variability associated with natural mating. 
  • Enhances overall productivity in animal husbandry.

 

Multiple ovulation embryo transfer technology(MOET)

 

  • In situations where the success rate of crossing mature male and female animals is low despite artificial insemination, additional techniques like Multiple Ovulation Embryo Transfer Technology (MOET) are employed. 
  • MOET Process:

- Hormone Administration:

Cows are administered hormones with FSH-like activity to induce follicular maturation and superovulation. Instead of the usual one egg per cycle, cows produce 6-8 eggs. 

- Mating or Artificial Insemination:

The superovulated cow is either mated with an elite bull or artificially inseminated. 

- Embryo Recovery:

Fertilized eggs at 8–32 cell stages are recovered non-surgically. 

- Transfer to Surrogate Mothers:

Recovered embryos are transferred to surrogate mothers for gestation. 

- Repeat Superovulation:

The genetic mother is available for another round of superovulation, allowing for multiple cycles of embryo production. 

  • Applications Across Species: MOET technology has been successfully demonstrated in various species, including cattle, sheep, rabbits, buffaloes, mares, etc 
  • Benefits for Herd Improvement:

- Increased Offspring Production:

Enables the production of multiple offspring from a single female in a short period. 

- Genetic Enhancement:

Elite genetic material can be strategically used to enhance desirable traits in the herd. 

- Accelerated Herd Growth:

High milk-yielding females and quality meat-yielding bulls have been bred successfully, accelerating herd size growth. 

  • Role in Livestock Industry:

- Diversity and Quality:

Enhances genetic diversity and ensures the quality of livestock, contributing to the improvement of overall herd genetics. 

  • Economic Implications:

- Efficiency and Productivity:

MOET technology increases reproductive efficiency, allowing for rapid herd expansion and improved productivity.

Economic benefits are derived from enhanced traits, such as high milk yield and quality meat.

 

Bee keeping

 

  • Bee-keeping, or apiculture, involves the maintenance of honeybee hives for honey production, beeswax, and various industrial uses. 
  • Products of Bee-keeping:

- Honey:

A highly nutritious food with applications in indigenous medicine. 

- Beeswax:

Utilized in industries, such as cosmetics and various polishes. 

  • Increased demand for honey has transformed bee-keeping into an established income-generating industry, suitable for both small-scale and large-scale practices.
  • Bee-keeping can be practiced in areas with sufficient bee pastures, including wild shrubs, fruit orchards, and cultivated crops. 
  • Beehives can be kept in various locations, including courtyards, verandahs, or rooftops. 

Bee-keeping is not labor-intensive, making it accessible. 

Apis indica is the most common honeybee species reared for bee-keeping. 

Key Success Factors in Bee-keeping:

- Knowledge Base:

Understanding the nature and habits of bees is crucial. 

- Location Selection:

Choosing suitable locations for beehives is essential. 

- Swarm Management:

Efficient catching and hiving of bee swarms. 

- Seasonal Hive Management:

Proper management during different seasons. 

- Harvesting Practices:

Skillful handling and collection of honey and beeswax. 

  • Bees play a vital role as pollinators for numerous crop species (e.g., sunflower, Brassica, apple, and pear). 
  • Placing beehives in crop fields during flowering periods enhances pollination efficiency, benefiting both crop and honey yields. 
  • Bee-keeping, while relatively easy, requires specialized knowledge. 
  • Several organizations offer educational programs to teach bee-keeping. 
  • Bee-keeping is a sustainable and economically viable practice with ecological benefits, contributing to both food production and income generation.

 

 

 

Fisheries

 

  • Fishery is an industry dedicated to the catching, processing, or selling of fish, shellfish, or other aquatic animals. 

 

  • A significant portion of the population relies on fish, fish products, and aquatic animals like prawns, crabs, lobster, and edible oysters for food. 
  • Freshwater Fishes: Catla, Rohu, and common carp are commonly found and consumed. 
  • Marine Fishes: Hilsa, Sardines, Mackerel, and Pomfrets are popular choices. 
  • Fisheries play a vital role in the Indian economy, providing income and employment to millions, particularly in coastal states. 
  • For many, it serves as the primary source of livelihood. 
  • To meet growing demands, various techniques, such as aquaculture and pisciculture, have been employed to increase aquatic plant and animal production. 
  • Pisciculture: Involves the breeding and rearing of fish. 
  • Aquaculture: Encompasses the cultivation of both aquatic plants and animals, including fish, in controlled environments. 
  • The adoption of aquaculture and pisciculture has significantly boosted the fishery industry's development, bringing substantial income to farmers and the country as a whole. 
  •  'Blue Revolution': Similar to the 'Green Revolution,' the 'Blue Revolution' signifies the transformation and enhancement of fisheries through modern techniques. 
  • Fisheries and aquaculture play a crucial role in addressing food needs, economic development, and livelihoods.