Animal Husbandry

Farmed animals today are quite different from those of "the olden days". Generally, they are larger, sturdier and more productive, though in some cases they are more susceptible to diseases.

Cattle, which are bred for both meat and milk production, have been selectively bred to yield greater output in either, or in some cases, both of these.
Dairy breeds include Friesian, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Jersey, Dairy Shorthorn.

Friesian
Friesian
GuernseyGuernsey AyrshireAyrshire JerseyJersey Dairy Shorthorn
Dairy Shorthorn

Beef breeds include Angus, Hereford, Beef Shorthorn, Brahman. Many beef cattle are also used for leather-production.

Angus
Angus
Hereford
Hereford
Jersey
Beef Shorthorn
Brahman
Brahman

Sheep are raised for their wool and for meat, and again, both of these products have been increased and improved by careful breeding techniques. The most famous breed is undoubtedly the Merino. This Spanish sheeep was greatly developed to reach its present state in Australia and New Zealand. Primarily a fine wool producer, it has been bred with several other types to create attributes needed for various applications. Recently, research has shown the possibility of its becoming a major meat source also. Other breeds are Dorset, Montedale, Oxford, Southdown, Suffolk, and Dorper.

Goats are not as popular as sheep. They are raised for meat, milk, fibre and skins. Male goats (bucks) can breed from about 7 weeks old, and can breed pretty much any time after that. Does can be bred from about 8 months, and go into heat every 21 days for 1-3 days. Some breeds can breed all year round, but most are seasonal, prefering autumn. The goat gestation period is about 5 months. The litters are usually 2 to 3 kids, but may be from 1 to 5.

Horses, once raised for either manual work or for sport have also been segregated into several classes. Race-horses, herding-horses, show-horses and horses for recreational riding all need different characteristics, and different breeds have been developed with the required attributes.

Pigs are raised for their meat and skin, as well as being used for medical research due to their physiological similarity to humans.

Other types of animals including alpacas, llamas, camels and deer are also bred in suitable areas and for various purposes.

Embryo transfer and artificial insemination are often used nowadays, to ensure that females breed regularly and to help improve herd genetics. When embryos are transplanted from high-quality females into lower-quality surrogate mothers, the higher-quality mother is able to be reimpregnated sooner, increasing the number of offspring that can be produced from them. However, it decreases genetic diversity, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks.


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