If you are considering a career as a farmer or agriculturalist, you will need to understand the basics of animal husbandry to succeed. So, what exactly is animal husbandry and why is it so important? What does the animal husbandry industry look like in Australia and internationally? This blog will answer these and other burning questions about the animal husbandry industry. Keep reading to start learning!
What is Animal Husbandry?
Animal husbandry is a branch of agriculture concerned with the production and care of domestic animals. Usually, these animals are raised to produce food, like meat, dairy, honey, or eggs. Animal husbandry can also involve farming animals for other reasons, such as wool production.
Career Roles and Responsibilities
As an animal husbandry professional, you must understand breeding strategies, how to care for various animal species, and animal welfare. Species of animals farmed for animal husbandry include cows, sheep, fish, goats, and chickens. Some professionals and hobbyists specialize in one species, while others farm many species. Each has its own unique needs and requirements. It is the responsibility of farmers to make sure they understand and can cater to these needs.
Depending on the species you are farming and the size of your herd, you will need to understand how to breed your animals effectively, either by artificial insemination or selective breeding. You will also need to know how to manage stud herds.
If you have livestock animals in your care, it is your duty to ensure you have the skills to take care of them properly. You should learn basic first aid for the species you are farming and know when to seek professional help from a vet. In addition, it’s important to provide appropriate living conditions for the animals you are caring for and understand their dietary needs.
Managing animal nutrition, health, and genetics is essential for efficient production. It’s important to find a balance between efficient production and animal welfare. You must ensure that the techniques you use do not cause harm to animals in your care.
Dehorning, spaying, and castration are techniques that can cause animals harm, even though they improve production efficiency. Industry bodies in some countries encourage farmers to avoid these techniques and to use pain relief when these procedures are medically necessary.
Each jurisdiction around the world has different legislation about animal welfare and the environment that farmers must be aware of:
- In Australia, each state and territory sets their own animal welfare laws. You will need to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state or territory before setting up your own farm. However, animal cruelty is a criminal offense in all Australian jurisdictions. Farmers, as well as the federal government, are responsible for ensuring that the farming of livestock does not damage native plants or animals.
- Farmers in the United States must follow the Animal Welfare Act. There is no federal law that regulates farm animal living conditions. Some states have their own laws regarding the treatment of farm animals, including some that ban practices like foie gras, tail docking, and sow stalls.
- Canada has its own Animal Welfare Act, and many provinces have their own laws that regulate the treatment of farm animals. Farmers and animal owners are expected to, at minimum, provide animals with food, water, and clean shelter. The province of Alberta has the strictest laws regarding the welfare of livestock.
- New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act states that all animals have the right to food, water, shelter, and the appropriate treatment of pain and disease.
Digital resources have made it easier than ever to manage farm animals.
Technology allows animal husbandry professionals to keep records more easily. Keeping track of animal needs using online records lets farmers manage these needs and leads to more efficient breeding. Digital technology also helps farmers manage animal nutrition more easily. Farmers can scan feed samples with infrared devices that allow them to evaluate its quality and nutritional content.
In addition, farmers can use technology to track herd health. Herds can be equipped with RFID tags, which let farmers track the location of their livestock from their mobile phones. They can also monitor of the speed animals move at. As a slow movement speed could indicate illness, it’s important to keep track of it and look for signs of disease.
Has our blog inspired you to learn more about animal husbandry? Careerline Courses offers a range of online tutor-supported animal husbandry courses. Learn more by scrolling down to read about this week’s featured courses. If you’d like to enquire about any of our featured courses, or any others from our broad range, feel free to get in touch with us today 🙂
1. Advanced Certificate in Animal Husbandry: designed to give students a well-rounded education. You will study three core animal husbandry modules, learning about animal health, feed and nutrition, and enhancing performance. Students also select one elective to learn how to care for a species of livestock animal, such as beef cattle, sheep, or pigs. This course is designed for farmers, farmhands, agriculture professionals, and anyone who works with animals as a hobby or career.
2. Goat Husbandry: If you are involved in commercial goat husbandry or are an amateur hobbyist, then our online Goat Husbandry course could be right for you. You will learn how goats are bred, and how to raise kids. In addition, you will study the dietary requirements of goats, as well as how to identify common health issues that affect goats. This course is designed to assist with raising goats for fibre, meat, and other products.
3. Advanced Certificate in Equine Studies: This course provides a comprehensive overview of horse care and the equine industry. You will study three compulsory modules, learning about horse care, horsemanship, health management, and more. Then, you will select an elective to learn more about a specific area of horse care relevant to your interests. This course is designed for equine professionals and horse owners who want to deepen their knowledge of caring for horses.
4. Beef Cattle: Whether you want to farm beef cattle for commercial reasons or as a hobby, Careerline’s online Beef Cattle course is designed for you. With tutor support from practicing Australian veterinarians, you will learn how to effectively breed beef cattle and understand common health issues that affect cows. You will develop an understanding of feed lot management and stud herd management. Finally, students of this course learn how to manage beef enterprises for long-term success.