Livestock can be as well called Farm animals,they are animals reared or domesticated by man for his consumption and benefit. These animals include:Cattles,sheeps,goats,poultry,pigs,horses,donkeys and camels and other species such as snails and grass-cutters are also being domesticated.
IMPORTANCE OF LIVESTOCK
The rearing of animals have been of help and benefit to man in diverse of ways,which include the following:
1.The provision of Raw materials for industries: Some raw materials are gotten from animals such as hide,skin,wool,mohair, fibre are used in textile,shoes, and bags industries. Cheese, Yoghurt and butter are also extracted from milk ,which is gotten from animal as well.
2.The provision of food:Farm animals serve as provision of food and has also been source of protein to man. This has been mostly in form of meat,milk and eggs.
3.Means of transportation: In some areas in Nigeria, Northern part to be precised.Camels are mostly use as means of transportation in carrying loads to be delivered to caravans across sahara dessert,it is well known as ‘Beast of Burden’.Horses and Donkeys are used as means of transportation for man as well as loads.Horses are also means of sport and recreation.
4.Provision for farm labour:Some livestock animals are use for farm labour, in that,they plough and till the soil,examples are ballocks ,caraboa etc.Farm implements such as plough harrows and Rodgers are attached to their horn and they drug this along the farmland for land preparation of operation.
5.Conserve soil:When farm animals manure is applied to the soil,it replenish nutrient in the soil used by plant for growth.
PROBLEMS OF LIVESTOCK
a.Malnutrition: In some parts of Nigeria, livestock are bred and reared on the basis, whereby animals are left alone to look after and provide food for themselves without the farmer’s help.
They feed on grass,other people’s farm and waste product.Their pasture are not being improved and they lack attentions.The unavailability of all these tend to encourage poor growth in livestock animals.
b.Inadequate care:Veterinary care is not well rendered to the animals in order to treat or control disease that may want to kill them. Vaccination as a control against disease is not properly followed and some places may not be available.
c. Low Level of Education on the Part Livestock Farmers: Majority of the cattle raised in Nigeria are in the hands of uneducated Fulani cattle rearers. Many of them resist practice that can improve livestock performance and production.
d. Poor Breeding Program: The indigenous livestock in Nigeria are mostly the dwarf types characterized by low yield and production. These breeds have been largely left unimproved because breeding programmes and selection are mainly confined to few research stations and institutions.
e. Poor Management System: The extensive system characterized by low input -low output is mostly common in Nigeria. Housing facilities are not usually provided and where they are available such facilities are poorly constructed.
f. Lack of Fund: This result in the inability of the farmer to access sufficient fund to establish or maintain a well equipped livestock farm, livestock.
CLASSES OF LIVESTOCK
Livestock can be classified into three classes which are:Ruminants,Monogastrics and Non-ruminant herbivores.
These are animals with four-compactment stomach which include rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum. Examples of ruminant livestock are sheep, goats and cattle The rumen is inhabited by micro organisms which help in breaking down the cellulose cell wall of plants, fermentation also takes place in the rumen. Ruminant feed by swallowing their food without much of chewing initially, this food is later regurgitated back to the mouth and then chewed properly (chewing the cud) after which digestion continues. The abomasum is the true stomach and there enzymatic digestion takes place.
These animals have one compactment stomach. Examples are poultry and pigs. They are usually omnivorous, enzymes are secreted in the stomach for Digestion of food.
These are not ruminants, that is they do not posses rumen, reticulum omasum and abomasum, but they are plant eaters. Examples are horse donkeys and rabbits. They are able to digest plant cell wall easily because of the presence of microorganisms in some specialized organs in th gastro-intestinal tract.
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