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Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock. As such, it is a vital skill for farmers, and in many ways as much art as it is science. The science of animal husbandry, called animal science, is taught in many universities and colleges around the world. Students of animal science may pursue degrees in veterinary medicine following graduation, or go on to pursue master's degrees or doctorates in disciplines such as nutrition, genetics and breeding, or reproductive physiology. Graduates of these programs may be found working in the veterinary and human pharmaceutical industries, the livestock and pet supply and feed industries, or in academia.

It is one of the oldest world professions. It is also mentioned in the Bible as the first task given by God to Adam: to name and care for the Garden of Eden and the animals (Genesis 2:19-20).

Historically, certain sub-professions within the field of Animal Husbandry are specifically named according to the animals which are cared for.

A swineherd is a person who cares for hogs and pigs (older english term: swine). A shepherd is a person who cares for sheep. A goatherd cares for goats. In previous years, it was common to have herds which were made up of sheep and goats. In this case, the person tending them was called a shepherd. King David of Israel was a shepherd before he was anointed to be king.

In the a draw in a mountaineous region, a shepherd guides a flock of about 20 sheep amidst scrub and olive trees

In more modern times, cowboys (or in Spanish: gauchos) rode horses and participated in cattle drives to watch over cows and bulls raised primarily for food.

Today, herd managers often oversee thousands of animals and many staff. Farms and ranches may employee breeders, herd health specialists, feeders, and milkers to help care for the animals. Techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer are frequently used not only as methods to guarantee that females are bred but to help improve herd genetics. This in turn improves the ability of the animals to convert feed to meat, milk, or fiber more efficiently and improve the quality of the final product.

See also