Animal Husbandry

What is Animal Husbandry: Its Importance, Types and Benefits

Updated on 29th March, 2024, By Neesha Rathod
What is Animal Husbandry: Its Importance, Types and Benefits
Animal husbandry is the management of animals for food, fibre, labour, and other products. It is a broad term that covers a variety of practices, from raising livestock in small farms to commercial animal farming.

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Animals are an important source of protein, and the food products derived from them are high in nutritional value. However, they require care and attention to realise their full potential. The branch that relates to the care, breeding, and management of animals is called animal husbandry.

Animal husbandry has two parts. One relates to raising livestock, and the other relates to selective breeding.

Animal husbandry is an important sub-sector of Indian agriculture and economy. It generates income for farmers, creates employment opportunities, and helps earn valuable foreign exchange.

Let's Understand Animal Husbandry

Have you ever wondered what is animal husbandry and how it is different from livestock? Animal husbandry is the scientific management of livestock, birds, insects, and fish for food, fibre, labour, and other products.

It is a broad term known to cover various practices, including breeding, feeding, weeding, and heeding of animals. But what exactly are these practices? Let us understand briefly:

  • Breeding: It is a practice of producing high milk-yielding, egg-yielding, or meat-yielding breeds of animals.
  • Feeding: It deals with feeding animals. It involves selecting the right feed type, method, and animal feed time.
  • Weeding: It is the practice of eliminating uneconomical livestock, birds, or fish.
  • Heeding: It deals with the proper care and management of animal livestock.

Difference between Animal Husbandry and Livestock

Having understood the concept of animal husbandry, let us know the difference between animal husbandry and livestock.

Livestock means farm animals, and animal husbandry means raising, breeding, and managing animal livestock.

Animal husbandry is much broader in scope and involves raising and breeding animals, birds, fish, or insects. On the other hand, Livestock Farming usually does not include rearing insects, birds, or fish.

Furthermore, livestock is concerned with domesticating and rearing animals to meet the demand for meat, eggs, wool, etc.

Types of Animal Husbandry

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

Poultry Farming

Poultry Farming focuses on breeding and raising poultry birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. This branch of animal husbandry is primarily geared towards chicken and egg production.

Raising poultry requires nutrient-rich feed, which is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Besides, proper cleaning, sanitation, and disinfectant spraying are necessary to prevent diseases in poultry fowl.

Besides, poultry fowls can be crossbred to improve the varieties of breeds. For example, the indigenous Aseel can be crossbred with foreign Leghorn to develop new varieties.

With the increased demand for poultry products, the scope of the Poultry Farming Business in India has increased.

Cattle Farming

Cattle Farming is the practice of breeding and rearing cattle for dairy and draught labour work. Two types of cattle are bred primarily in India: cows and buffaloes.

Dairy animals are female cattle and are primarily used for milk. Thus, they are also called milch animals. On the other hand, draught animals are domesticated for agricultural work like tilling and irrigating.

The cattle are crossbred to produce the improved breeds of cattle that are high milk-yielding and disease-resistant. For instance, exotic or foreign cattle breeds such as Jersey and Brown Swiss are known for longer lactation period. Thus, these cattle breeds are crossbred with local breeds like Red Sindhi and Sahiwal, which have excellent disease-resistant qualities.


Beekeeping or Apiculture is also among the top animal husbandry types. It is the practice of raising and managing bee colonies. It requires low investment; thus, farmers Undertake Apiculture to generate additional income.

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

The value, quality and taste of honey is the outcome of the quantity of pasturage and availability of flower and nectar varieties.

In India, many varieties of bees are used for the commercial production of honey. Some of them are Indian Bee (Apis cerena indica), Rock Bee (A. dorsata), and Little Bee (A. florae).

Fish Farming

Fish farming or Aquaculture is concerned with breeding and rearing fish in controlled environments such as ponds or tanks. The production of fish in India emphasizes true fish and shellfish such as molluscs and prawns.

Fish can be obtained in two ways. These are capture fishing and culture fishing. The former involves catching the fish directly from natural resources like the sea or river, whereas the latter involves rearing fish in controlled environments like ponds, tanks, or cages.

The fisheries sector can further be divided into Marine and Inland Fisheries. Popular marine fish varieties include Mackerel, Sardines, Tuna, Pomphret, and Bombay duck. On the other hand, popular inland fish are Catla, Silver Carp, Rohu, Grass Carp, and Common Carp.

Why is Animal Husbandry Essential?

Animal Husbandry is vital for sustaining rural livelihood and increasing agriculture output and national income. Some of the importance of animal husbandry are:

  • They are an essential source of protein as animal meat is rich in dietary protein.
  • Animals like cows, buffaloes, and goats are important sources of milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt, etc.
  • Animal wastes are often used as organic manure, which helps increase crop yield and crop quality.
  • They are also an important source of fibre, like leather and wool.
  • Draught animals are an important source of non-human labour because they are used for tilling, irrigating, transporting, etc.

Advantages of Animal Husbandry for India

Animal husbandry in India has several advantages for the country's economy, society, and food security. Here are some of the critical advantages of animal husbandry in India:

  • It provides livelihoods and employment opportunities to millions of people residing in rural areas.
  • It contributes significantly to India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contributes 25.60% to overall agriculture GDP.
  • India is the largest producer of milk globally and provides a continuous supply of milk for consumption, making it a crucial source of high-quality protein.
  • Animal husbandry efforts help conserve and maintain the diverse livestock breeds, ensuring their survival for future generations.
  • Livestock, particularly drought-resistant breeds like the Kankrej and Deoni cattle, play a critical role in drought-prone regions.


Animal husbandry is an important sector of Indian agriculture and economy. It provides affordable dietary protein to the population. In India, examples of animal husbandry are cattle farming, poultry farming, fish farming, and beekeeping. To realise the full potential of animal husbandry, farm animals require proper care and management, such as shelter, breeding, feeding, and disease control.

Frequently Asked Questions on What is Animal Husbandry: Its Importance, Types and Benefits

1. What is animal husbandry?

Animal husbandry is the science of breeding, feeding, raising, and heeding the animal livestock.

Animal husbandry provides additional incomes to the farmers in the form of its by-products like meat, manure, etc.

The main elements of animal husbandry are breeding, feeding, weeding, and heeding.

Some examples of animal husbandry are cattle farming, dairy farming, poultry farming, beekeeping, and fish farming.

Animal husbandry advantages includes providing livelihood and employment opportunities to rural peoples.

Neesha Rathod
Published By
Neesha Rathod
Neesha holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a postgraduate degree in Rural Management. With over 10 years of experience in agriculture and the rural sector, she is a quick problem solver. She is inquisitive and has a deep analytics insight into any issues related to agriculture. She loves to travel and explore new places.
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