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close this bookBetter Farming Series 08 Animal Husbandry: Feeding and Care of Animals (FAO Better Farming series, 1976, 38 p.)
close this folderWhy learn about animal husbandry?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWhy farmers go In for traditional animal husbandry
View the documentAnimals can earn much more
View the documentHow to improve animal husbandry

Why farmers go In for traditional animal husbandry

· To have food to eat

Every now and then the farmer kills a chicken, a duck, a goat, a sheep or a pig, in order to eat it.

If he has no animals, he buys meat on the market.

Some people drink a lot of milk.

Meat, milk and eggs are very good food, rich food which contains a lot of proteins.

Proteins are a food that people need. To eat enough proteins means good health. People who don't eat enough proteins are often ill or don't grow big. Proteins help to build up a man's body and give it strength.

Proteins from animals are a food that people need in order to grow, become strong and stay in good health.

· To have animals for sacrifices and feasts

At a birth, a marriage, a funeral or traditional feasts, or when strangers come as guests, people often kill some animals: chickens, goats, sheep, cattle.

So the farmer often needs animals. He has to raise them himself.

· To have a store of wealth

Animals are often a store of wealth.

For example, in Mali when the stores of millet are about to go bad, a farmer sells his millet and buys some animals.

When the farmer needs money, either to pay his taxes or for a dowry or some feast, or to buy something, he sells one or more of his animals.

Animals are wealth that you can either show or hide.

If you want to show your wealth, you can keep them near the village. If you want to hide your wealth, you can get someone to keep them for you far from the village.

But this wealth produces little

· The farmer has wealth, but does not look after it. It does not require much work, but it does not bring in much money.

Often, animals are not milked. If they are milked, it may be the herdsman who drinks the milk or sells it.

Many animals die because they are badly fed, or because disease kills them.

Unless they are well watched, flocks and herds stray into the fields and ruin the crops.

· A man who owns a cart, but goes on carrying his produce on his head, owns a working tool, a means of wealth, but he does not use it.

A man who owns some bank notes and keeps them in a jar does not make his money produce anything; he lets his wealth lie idle.

A man who owns animals and does not look after them lets his wealth lie idle.

The cart, the bank notes, the animals are wealth, they are capital.

It is no good letting capital lie idle. Animals are a capital that should produce as much as possible.