You are on page 1of 1

Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry is the scientific breeding and management of domesticated livestock to achieve qualities desired to meet various nutritional, labor, recreational, and other derivative needs, such as leather, fur, and pharmaceutical sources. Early humans recognized traits in certain animals which they bred to create offspring with those characteristics. Animals which did not meet expectations were culled from breeding stock and sometimes castrated or slaughtered. These primitive animal husbandry methods were based on observation and experience, not genetics. Breeders knew that certain reproductive crosses tended to produce vigorous animals, but they did not understand the scientific principles of animal husbandry until twentieth century geneticists began to comprehend the potential roles of genes for agricultural applications. Animal husbandry became professionalized in the twentieth century’s scientists theorized and determined ways to manipulate livestock's genes regarding such factors as growth and biochemical activity. Jay L. Lush (1896-1982), an Iowa State University animal husbandry professor, is considered the father of modern animal breeding and genetics. His research resulted in an international breeding study center being established at Iowa State that continues to influence animal husbandry world-wide. Inbreeding is a genetic strategy to produce superior specimens by mating animals closely related in an attempt to concentrate desirable genetic material in offspring. Recessive inferior genes that are not detectable in the parents, however, may become visible in the offspring which might be smaller or express some other weakness and undesirable traits. Out crossing involves breeding unrelated animals of the same breed in an attempt to develop their outstanding traits in offspring. Crossbreeding, or the mating of animals from two breeds of the same species, is another method to achieve better quality livestock who obtain higher prices at market. Hybrids such as the geep, a cross between a sheep and a goat, represent desirable traits of each species.