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The controlled cultivation, management, and production of domestic animals, including the enhancement of desirable qualities through breeding, is known as animal husbandry.

This would include beef and dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and fowl, which are used for food, as well as horses, mules, donkeys, buffalo, camels, and other animals that may be desirable for pleasure or utilitarian purposes.

Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals raised for meat, milk, fiber, and other products, and includes the selective breeding, day-to-day care, and selective breeding of livestock. Although animal husbandry is usually used to refer to farm animals, businesses and industries involved in the breeding and management of show animals or pets are also appropriate for this category. However, the cultivation, management, and production of marine animals (fish farming) would be listed in the Aquaculture category rather than this one.

Although many operations are small family businesses, animal husbandry is a large-scale industry on which many farmers and ranchers depend for their livelihood.

Four major types of animal husbandry include livestock farming, dairy farming, poultry farming, and beekeeping (bee farming).

The livestock farming industry involves the raising of animals for meat, utility, or pleasure, and may include a large variety of animals, such as cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, mules, camels, buffalo, or other animals, largely dependent of the region of the world. It would also include industries involved in the processing of meat products.

Other terms might be used to refer to the specific type of livestock, such as cattle ranching, pig farming, sheep ranching, or the equine industry.

Dairying, or dairy farming, is a branch of agriculture that includes the breeding, raising, and utilization of dairy animals, primarily cows, although goats are also used for for the production of milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Although goats are a significant milk producer in China, India, and other Asian countries, as well as in Egypt, it is far less important in Europe and North America, where cow's milk is used far more often. Produced in some parts of the world, buffalo's milk is used in the same way as cow's milk.

The major breeds of dairy cows are the Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein-Friesian, and Jersey, although there are several minor breeds, as well.

Poultry farming is a form of animal husbandry that involves the raising of birds for domestic or commercial use, primarily for meat and eggs, but also for feathers. The most common fowl involved in poultry farming are chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, although guinea hens and squabs are farmed on a lesser basis. Chickens raised for eggs are known as layers, while those raised for meat are broilers.

Farm chickens are housed in structures known as chicken coops or hen houses, in which there may be nest boxes and perches. There is, however, a philosophy that holds that chickens are hardy enough to thrive in open-air coops, even in cold winter temperatures, and that chickens acclimated to this environment are more likely to be disease-free.

In some countries, commercial hens are housed in battery cages, which are very small, housing from three to eight hens. This system of commercial egg production is banned in some countries, however.

In response to the banning of conventional battery cages throughout the European Union, a commercial furnished cage system was developed in the 1980s. These are cages for egg-laying hens that have been designed to allow them to perform natural behaviors, while retaining some of the economic advantages. Some countries are considering banning these cages, as well.

Free-range chicken farming is a method of poultry farming that allows the birds to roam freely for a portion of the day, although they are generally confined in sheds at night for protection from predators or if the weather is particularly bad.

In a free-run system, hens are permitted to roam freely but within an enclosed bar, which includes nesting boxes and perches.

With organic egg-laying systems, chickens are free-range and, additionally, there are restrictions on the use of synthetic yolk colorants, medications in the feed or water, and other food additives.

Also known as honey bee farming or apiculture, beekeeping is the maintenance of bee colonies for the purpose of honey production or other commercial products, such as beeswax, bee pollen, and royal jelly. Commercial bees are usually honey bees, in the genus apis, but other honey-producing bees are also kept. The location where the bees are kept is known as an apiary or bee yard, and beekeepers may be known as apiarists.

Besides honey, bee colonies are also rented for the purpose of pollinating crops, or for sale to other beekeepers.



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