How to Choose the Best Farm Animals for Your Homestead or Small Farm
Farm Animals: Types, Facts, Benefits, and Care
Farm animals are animals that are raised or kept on farms for various purposes. They may provide food, products, services, or income for humans and the environment. Farm animals have been domesticated for thousands of years and have a close relationship with humans. Some farm animals are also kept as pets or companions.
There are many types of farm animals that can be found around the world. Some of the most common ones are cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and poultry. Each type of farm animal has its own characteristics, specialties, and needs. In this article, we will explore some of the types, facts, benefits, and care of farm animals.
Types of Farm Animals
Cattle are large hoofed mammals that belong to the genus Bos. They are one of the most important livestock groups worldwide. Cattle can be divided into two main categories: beef cattle and dairy cattle.
Beef cattle are raised for their meat production. Some of the popular beef cattle breeds are Hereford, Angus, Shorthorn, Charolais, and Simmental. Beef cattle are usually fed on pasture or hay, but they may also receive grain or supplements to increase their weight and quality. Beef cattle are slaughtered at different ages depending on the market demand.
Dairy cattle are raised for their milk production. Some of the common dairy cattle breeds are Holstein-Friesian, Jersey, Guernsey, Brown Swiss, and Ayrshire. Dairy cattle are usually kept in barns or sheds where they are milked by machines or by hand. Dairy cattle need a balanced diet that includes water, hay, silage, grain, and minerals. Dairy cattle produce milk for about 10 months after giving birth to a calf.
Sheep are small ruminant animals that belong to the genus Ovis. They were among the first animals to be domesticated by humans. Sheep can be classified into two main groups: wool sheep and meat sheep.
Wool sheep are raised for their wool or fleece production. Wool is a natural fiber that can be used to make clothing, blankets, carpets, and other products. Some of the famous wool sheep breeds are Merino, Rambouillet, Corriedale, Romney, and Lincoln. Wool sheep are sheared once or twice a year depending on the breed and climate.
Meat. Meat sheep are raised for their meat or mutton production. Meat is a rich source of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Some of the common meat sheep breeds are Dorset, Suffolk, Hampshire, Texel, and Katahdin. Meat sheep are usually fed on pasture or hay, but they may also receive grain or supplements to improve their growth and quality. Meat sheep are slaughtered at different ages depending on the market preference.
Pigs are omnivorous animals that belong to the genus Sus. They are one of the most intelligent and adaptable livestock species. Pigs can be divided into two main categories: pork pigs and bacon pigs.
Pork pigs are raised for their fresh meat or pork production. Pork is a versatile meat that can be cooked in various ways and used to make sausages, ham, bacon, and other products. Some of the popular pork pig breeds are Yorkshire, Duroc, Landrace, Berkshire, and Chester White. Pork pigs are usually fed on a diet that consists of corn, soybean meal, and other ingredients. Pork pigs are slaughtered at about six months of age.
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addax: the antelope of the Sahara
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deer farming in New Zealand and Australia
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elk farming in North America and Europe
guinea pig farming in South America
greater kudu: the spiral-horned antelope
mule: the hybrid of horse and donkey
moose: the largest deer in the world
muskox: the wooly bovid of the Arctic
reindeer: the domesticated caribou
chicken breeds and their egg colors
domestic duck vs wild duck: how to distinguish them
domestic goose breeds and varieties
domestic guineafowl: the noisy poultry
domestic muscovy duck: the tropical duck
domestic turkey: the popular Thanksgiving bird
emu: the second-largest living bird
egyptian goose: the exotic waterfowl
indian peafowl: the national bird of India
mute swan: the elegant waterbird
ostrich: the largest and fastest living bird
partridge: the game bird of Europe and Asia
small-billed tinamou: the ground-dwelling bird of South America
pigeon: the common city bird with many breeds
quail: the small poultry with high egg production
edible-nest swiftlet: the source of bird's nest soup
grey francolin: the partridge of India and Pakistan
guineafowl vs turkey: how to differentiate them
common pheasant vs golden pheasant: which one is more colorful?
Bacon pigs are raised for their cured meat or bacon production. Bacon is a cured meat that is made from the belly or back of the pig. It can be eaten as a breakfast item, a sandwich ingredient, or a snack. Some of the common bacon pig breeds are Tamworth, Large Black, Gloucestershire Old Spot, and Mangalitsa. Bacon pigs are usually fed on a diet that includes barley, wheat, oats, and other grains. Bacon pigs are slaughtered at about eight months of age.
Goats are small ruminant animals that belong to the genus Capra. They are one of the oldest domesticated animals and have a wide range of uses. Goats can be classified into two main groups: milk goats and meat goats.
Milk goats are raised for their milk or cheese production. Goat milk is nutritious and easy to digest. It can be used to make cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and other products. Some of the famous milk goat breeds are Alpine, Saanen, Nubian, LaMancha, and Toggenburg. Milk goats are usually kept in pens or pastures where they are milked by machines or by hand. Milk goats need a balanced diet that includes water, hay, grain, and minerals. Milk goats produce milk for about 10 months after giving birth to a kid.
Meat goats are raised for their meat or chevon production. Goat meat is lean and tender. It can be cooked in various ways and used to make dishes such as curry, stew, kebab, and roast. Some of the common meat goat breeds are Boer, Kiko, Spanish, Myotonic, and Savanna. Meat goats are usually fed on pasture or hay, but they may also receive grain or supplements to enhance their growth and quality. Meat goats are slaughtered at different ages depending on the market demand.
Poultry are domesticated birds that are kept for their eggs or meat production. Poultry include chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, quails, and others. Each type of poultry has its own characteristics, specialties, and needs.
Chickens are the most common and widespread poultry species in the world. They can be divided into two main categories: egg-laying chickens and meat chickens.
Egg-laying chickensMeat chickens
Raised for their egg productionRaised for their meat production
Some of the popular egg-laying chicken breeds are Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Australorp, and AraucanaSome of the popular meat chicken breeds are Cornish Cross, Broiler, Ranger, Freedom Ranger, and Red Ranger
Usually fed on a diet that consists of layer feed, water, grit, and oyster shellsUsually fed on a diet that consists of broiler feed, water, grit, and vitamins
Usually kept in cages or coops where they lay eggs dailyUsually kept in pens or barns where they grow rapidly
Lay eggs for about 2 yearsSlaughtered at about 6 to 8 weeks of age
Ducks are waterfowl that belong to the family Anatidae. They are one of the oldest domesticated animals and have a variety of uses. Ducks can be classified into two main groups: egg ducks and meat ducks.
Egg ducksMeat ducks
Raised for their egg productionRaised for their meat production
Some of the popular egg duck breeds are Khaki Campbell, Indian Runner, Welsh Harlequin, and AnconaSome of the popular meat duck breeds are Pekin, Muscovy, Rouen, and Aylesbury
Usually fed on a diet that consists of duck feed, water, greens, and insectsUsually fed on a diet that consists of duck feed, water, greens, and grains
Usually kept in pens or coops with access to water where they lay eggs every other dayUsually kept in pens or barns with access to water where they grow quickly
Lay eggs for about 3 yearsSlaughtered at about 7 to 9 weeks of age