Animal Husbandry

What is Animal Husbandry: Its Importance, Types and Benefits

17 Sep 2023
What is Animal Husbandry: Its Importance, Types and Benefits Article
Animal husbandry is the management of animals for food, fibre, labour, and other products. It is a broad term known to cover a variety of practices. It ranges from raising livestock in small farms to commercial farming of animals.

Table of Contents


Animal husbandry is among the important branches of agriculture. It deals with the breeding, caring, and managing of animals for various purposes. It has been an integral part of human civilisation for thousands of years, providing essential resources such as food, fibre, and labour. Read on more to know what animal husbandry is, its importance, types, and benefits.

What is Animal Husbandry?

Animal husbandry is the management of animals for food, fibre, labour, and other products. It is a broad term known to cover a variety of practices. It ranges from raising livestock in small farms to commercial farming of animals.

If you ask what animal husbandry is, in simple terms, it is the science of rearing, breeding, and caring for farm animals. The animals included in this category are cows, buffaloes, pigs, horses, sheep, goats, honeybees, fish, and poultry. It sometimes also includes camels and mules.

Essential activities of animal husbandry include providing adequate feed and water, maintaining cleanliness, and protecting animals from diseases. The goal is to ensure their overall well-being.

Difference between Animal Husbandry and Livestock

Often animal husbandry and livestock farming are considered as one and the same. However, there are differences between the two. Livestock means farm animals and animal husbandry means raising and breeding of these animals.

The most basic difference is that the animal husbandry is much broader in scope and involves raising and breeding of animals, birds, fish, or insects. Livestock, on the other hand, involves rearing of animals only.

Furthermore, livestock is concerned with domestication and rearing of animals for the purposes of meeting the demand for meant, eggs, wool, etc.

Importance of Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry is an essential part of the global food system. It provides us with various food products. They include meat, milk, eggs, and wool. Animals are also used for their labour, such as pulling ploughs or carrying goods. The importance of animal husbandry has been listed below:

  • Food Production: It provides essential protein sources such as meat, milk, and eggs. It contributes significantly to our diets.
  • Economic Stability: It is a crucial source of income and livelihood for millions of people in India. It offers employment opportunities in farming and related industries such as dairy processing, meatpacking, and animal healthcare.
  • Genetic Diversity: It helps maintain and enhance the genetic diversity of various livestock breeds. This is essential for the resilience and adaptability of these animals in the face of changing environmental conditions.
  • Agricultural Sustainability: They help nutrient cycling by converting plant materials humans cannot digest into valuable resources like meat and milk. Manure from animals also serves as a natural fertiliser, enriching the soil.
  • Social & Cultural Significance: It is an integral part of festivals, rituals, and local food traditions. This preserves heritage and cultural practices.

Types of Animal Husbandry

The types of animal husbandry largely depend on the species of animals being raised. The leading animal husbandry types are poultry farming, dairy farming, pig farming, fish farming, and beekeeping, among others.

Poultry Farming

Animal Husbandry Types - Poultry Farming

Poultry farming focuses on the breeding and raising birds like chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. This type of animal husbandry is primarily geared towards meat and egg production.

Poultry farming is known for its efficiency, as birds typically reach maturity and are ready for market relatively quickly. It is a major source of affordable protein and eggs in India.

With increase in demand for poultry products, the scope for poultry farming business in India has increased.

Dairy Farming
Animal Husbandry Types - Dairy Farming

Dairy farming revolves around the production of milk and dairy products. Dairy animals, primarily cows and goats, are carefully bred and managed to optimise milk yields. The milk obtained is used to produce a range of dairy products.

The key products include cheese, butter, milk, and ice cream. Dairy farming is among the most important types of animal husbandry. It is crucial in providing high-quality protein and essential nutrients to the Indian population.

Animal Husbandry Types - Beekeeping

Beekeeping or apiculture is also among the top animal husbandry types. It is the practice of raising and managing bee colonies.

It is primarily done to produce honey and other bee-related products like beeswax, royal jelly and propolis.

Bees have an important role in pollinating crops, making beekeeping vital for agricultural ecosystems.

Fish Farming
Animal Husbandry Types - Fish Farming

Fish farming or pisciculture is an important sub-part of aquaculture in India. It is concerned with breeding and rearing of fish in controlled environments such as ponds or tanks.

Pisciculture address the increasing demand for seafood. It also reduces pressure on wild fish populations. Commonly farmed fish species include Rohu, Catla and Mrigala.

Advantages of Animal Husbandry for India

Animal husbandry in India plays a vital role in India's agriculture sector. It has several advantages for the country's economy, society, and food security. Here are some of the critical advantages of animal husbandry in India:

  1. Diverse Livelihoods: Animal husbandry in India provides livelihoods to millions of people. It includes small-scale farmers, landless labourers, and women. It offers employment opportunities in various aspects of livestock farming, from animal care to processing and marketing.
  2. Contribution to GDP: It contributes significantly to India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is a substantial source of income and economic stability for rural communities. This sector accounts for 25.60% of overall agriculture GDP.
  3. Milk Production: India is the world's largest milk producer. Dairy farming is a vital component of animal husbandry. It provides a continuous supply of milk for consumption, making it a crucial source of high-quality protein.
  4. Breed Conservation: India is home to diverse livestock breeds. Some of them are indigenous and unique to specific regions. Animal husbandry efforts help conserve and maintain these genetic resources, ensuring their survival for future generations.
  5. Export Opportunities: India exports various livestock products, including buffalo meat, goat meat and dairy products. This generates foreign exchange earnings for the country and contributes to the agricultural export sector.
  6. Drought Resilience: Livestock, particularly drought-resistant breeds like the Kankrej and Deoni cattle, play a critical role in regions prone to droughts. These animals are better adapted to withstand harsh environmental conditions. They provide a source of income during challenging times.


In conclusion, the benefits of animal husbandry in India cover several aspects like, serving rural livelihoods, nutritional security, and economic growth. It contributes significantly to the country's agricultural sector and offers numerous social, economic, and cultural advantages.

Sustainable and responsible practices are essential to harness these benefits of animal husbandry. Awareness and a better understanding of this sector are crucial for improving its efficiency and mitigating potential challenges. It would help unlock its tremendous potential towards global sustainability efforts.

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