9.1 Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock. As such it is a vital skill for farmers and is as much science as it is art.

Animal husbandry deals with the care and breeding of livestock like buffaloes, cows, pigs, horses, cattle, sheep, camels, goats, etc., that are useful to humans. Extended, it includes poultry farming and fisheries.

Fisheries include rearing, catching, selling, etc., of fish, molluscs (shell-fish) and crustaceans (prawns, crabs, etc.). Since time immemorial, animals like bees, silk-worm, prawns, crabs, fishes, birds, pigs, cattle, sheep and camels have been used by humans for products like milk, eggs, meat, wool, silk, honey, etc.

It is estimated that more then 70 per cent of the world livestock population is in India and China. However, it is surprising to note that the contribution to the world farm produce is only 25 per cent, i.e., the productivity per unit is very low.

Hence, in addition to conventional practices of animal breeding and care, newer technologies also have to be applied to achieve improvement in quality and productivity.

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