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close this book Agricultural development workers training manual: Volume IV Livestock
close this folder Chapter I: Orientation to the livestock component of agricultural training
View the document A. Overview of the livestock training component
View the document B. Preparing the livestock component of agricultural training
View the document C. Carrying out the livestock component

C. Carrying out the livestock component


It should be remembered that livestock training as described in this manual is not designed to stand alone. It and the other components combine to make an integrated Agricultural Extension training for the volunteer. For more information on this integrated design refer to Volume 1 of this manual.


The trainer will be seen by trainees as an 'expert in his or her field during the early days of training. However, it is the work of the trainer to eliminate the barriers created by being viewed as an "expert and strive to remain a facilitator. The trainer's Job is to create experiences and sessions that place the trainee in an active role of learning and allow the energy of the group to create a constructive learning environment. The trainer should not provide easy answers, but should assist the trainees in becoming knowledgeable through the use of continued questions, group problem solving and reference to appropriate readings.


Trainees take responsibility for the daily feeding, watering, and caring for the animals, keeping field notebooks, making daily observations on the health of the animals, and keeping daily feed consumption records. Trainees take an active, responsible role in their learning. These activities serve to increase the confidence and credibility of the volunteer as he or she masters new technical skills. The time spent observing the animals allows the trainee to learn what is normal, healthy animal behavior and to distinguish it from the behavior of a diseased or abnormal animal. Ability to distinguish between the two is critical to disease diagnosis and making management decisions. Watering and feeding is normally done on a rotating basis during training with 3 or 4 trainees responsible each day (this number will vary depending on the size of the group and the number of animals).


There are several aspects of the livestock training program that should be highlighted.

Class and Field Sessions

As mentioned earlier livestock training should have approximately a 60/40% ratio between field and class sessions. The sessions should be designed to complement one another. In other words, the field sessions can be used as the experience step of the experiential learning cycle and the class can serve as a tool in the reflection and generalization stages. It is important that the skill be learned first and then be placed in the context of livestock management and development work. In both the class and the field, the trainer should assist the trainee to learning but should not do the work for the trainee. Each trainee should demonstrate that they have learned the skill. The application stage of the experiential learning cycle for each skill learned comes when the trainee begins to train a counterpart in the skill he or she has learned.

Farm Visits

Farm visits can be valuable for the trainee to begin to use the skills learned. Ideally, the farm visit should be conducted under the following conditions. First, the farmer should be working with the same animals and at a similar production level to those that the trainee will be working with in-country. Second, the farmer must be receptive to having trainees on his or her farm and willing to both answer their questions and allow them to work with his or her animals. Third, trainees can practice some of their organizational skills in setting up the farm visit and demonstrating their extension skills during the actual visit. Finally, trainees should not be asked by trainers to demonstrate a technique that he or she is not yet comfortable with. To do so would run the risk of injuring the animal and damaging the confidence and credibility of the trainee.

Technical Training Goals

The trainer should refer to the technical training goals included in the Technical Guidelines, Chapter III. The purpose of the goals is to allow a trainee and the staff to easily assess progress of each trainee and to narrowly define tasks so that they can be completed in steps. Not all of the goals will apply in all training programs. Depending upon which animals are to be used in training, the overall length of the training, local conditions, the type of work the trainee will do as a volunteer, staffing patterns, and the skill levels of the trainees when they start training, these objectives will need to be altered. We have presented a full range of training objectives for 4 animals. The trainer will have to adjust these to fit each different training situation.


Exams should be used as a learning tool to enable the trainee, as well as the staff, to assess their progress on a weekly basis. The material to be included in an exam should be made clear to each trainee prior to the exam. The way to do this is to schedule a review session and then remind the group of the specific training goals which will be addressed on that week's exam. The results of the exam should be discussed with the trainee in the weekly feedback session. Exams should challenge the trainee to think and use the knowledge they have gained. Rote memorization makes for a poor exam and learning tool. They should help to point out the trainees determine whether they have mastered the skill called for in a particular goal. There is a sample exam in the appendix.

The Development Continuum

The 5 components of livestock development (Nutrition, Management, Diseases & Parasites, Genetics, and Housing) and the developmental continuum of high to survival production levels should be the hallmarks of training. Each of the "hands-on" skills taught should be examined in light of these factors to determine the appropriateness of each practice in the individual environment where the trainee will work. It is the ability to analyze and problem solve that will take each of these skills and make them sound for application in the various settings where trainees will serve. To learn a skill and not the implications of its use in the local environment may cause a volunteer to impede rather than furthering it.

Scenarios in Livestock Management Planning

The livestock management planning exercises contained in the guidelines are designed to have the trainees examine a livestock operation (either real or fictional) and then make management decisions based on local conditions, resources, and priorities (usually making more money and working less). They are used at the end of training when trainees can begin to evaluate the skills they have learned and make sense of them as they apply to development. In these sessions it is critical for the trainer to be a facilitator/questioner and to have the ideas flow from the trainees. It is best to use actual livestock operations that the trainees have visited as examples. If this is not possible then the trainer can draw up scenarios that are typical of the type of livestock operations that the trainee will encounter in-country.