12th Class Biology Domestication of animals For enhancement of Food production Livestock


Category : 12th Class

Meaning of livestock : The word livestock refers to the domestic animals kept or dealt in for use or profit. It includes cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, mules, donkeys and camels. The most important of these are cattle and buffaloes.

Cattle (Bos indicus),  Buffaloes (Bos bubalus) : The word cattle includes cow (adult female), bull (uncastrated adult male), bullock or OX (castrated adult male) and  steer (young castrated male).

Importance of cattle and Buffaloes : Cattle and buffalo are most important forms of domesticated animals. They are next to land in use for farmers. They are widely used for :

(1) Agricultural Operations : Cattle are used in agricultural operations such as ploughing, harrowing and levelling land; in harvesting and thrashing ripe crops; and in working wells, etc.

(2) Milk : Cows and buffaloes provide milk, an important human food with all the essential materials.

(3) Transport : Cattle are employed in cart driving to transport men and materials. However, they are being fast replaced by machines.

(4) Manure and fuel : The dung provided by them acts as a valuable manure for maintaining the fertility of the soil. It is also used for preparation of biogas or gobar gas. Dung cakes provide cheap fuel to the poor, but the fields get deprived of an important manure.

(5) Leather : Hides obtained from these animals are used for the preparation of leather goods.

(6) Glue and gelatin : Their bones, horns and hoofs yield glue and gelatin.

(7) Meat : Beef and buffalo meat are eaten by certain people

(8) Hair : Hair are used for making brushes.

(9) Hybridisation : Indian bulls are used for

Breeds of cattle : There are 26 breeds of cattle and 7 breeds of buffaloes in India. They differ in colour, general body build, form of horns, forehead and geographical distribution. The best cattle breeds occur in the drier regions of the country. The most important breeds of milk cows in the United States of America are Holstein-Friesian, Jersey, Quernsey, Ayrshire and Brown Swiss. Depending upon the utility, the cattle are classified into the following groups;

(1) Milch breeds that give good milk-producing cows,

(2) Draught breeds which give good working bullocks,

(3) General utility (dual-purpose) breeds the females of these breeds are good milk-producers and the bullocks are good draught animals.


Some Breeds of Indian Cattle


Milch Breeds




Gujrat, Rajasthan



Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh


Red Sindhi

Andhra Pradesh



Andhra Pradesh


Drought Breeds




Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh



Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh






Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India


General Utility Breeds




Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat



Andhra Pradesh






Andhra Pradesh, Gujrat


Some Breeds of Indians Buffaloes






Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh



Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh






Rajasthan, Gujrat





Nagpuri or Ellichpuri

Central and South India


Nili Ravi

Punjab, Haryana


Feeding of cattle : The cattle feed consists of two components (1) Roughage (2) Concentrates.

(1) Roughage : Roughage includes fodder, silage, hay and straw. They have a large amount of fibre contents and low nutritive value.

(2) Consentrates : The concentrates used in the cattle feed is a mixture of substance which are rich in nutrient contents. Cotton seeds, oil seeds, oil cakes, cereal grains like bajra, gram, rice polish, etc. are some important substances included in the concentrates in the cattle feed. In the winter season, cattle are given green feeder, mainly berseem and lucerns. In other seasons, cattle are given maize, bajra, jowar and dry fodder.

Cattle should be given sufficient water daily. Suckling calves also need water.

Breeding of Cattle : Cattle breeders select and mate best type of cattle for a particular purpose. The breeding of cattle is done by two methods i.e. natural and artificial.

(1) Natural breeding : It is further of two types i.e. random and controlled 

(i) Random breeding : Here some pedigree bulls are kept along with the grazing cows. Bulls not selected for breeding are castrated and changed to bullocks. 

(ii) Controlled breeding : In this type of breeding native cows are crossed with superior quality of imported bulls in natural breeding. Foreign dairy breeds like Jersey (England), Holstein Freisian (Holland), Brown Swiss (Switzerland), Ayrshire (Scotland) have been imported to give better results.

(2) Artificial breeding : The introduction of semen (sperm) in the body (vagina) of females by artificial means is called artificial insemination. This method is comparatively better and economical. Several cows can be inseminated by semen of a single bull.

(3) Superovulation and Embryo transplantation : This is a recent technique that has been introduced in India to produce super milch cows.

Breeding and Calving Season :  In India the breeding season commences from September and continues upto February, and the calving season from July to November. During this breeding period, the bulls have been found to be very active sexually and the quality and quantity of semen are very high, particularly during winter (November to February). The buffaloes show the maximum of ovarian activity and the largest percentage of them conceive during this period.

Length of Gestation : The length of gestation of buffaloes varies, influenced by breed and environment, between 276 and 340 days, but on an average, it lasts for 307 days or 10 months, in contrast to the cow with an average gestation of 284 days or 9 months.

(i) Duration of lactation, Dry period and interval between calving : In milch buffaloes, the average period of lactation is 281 days, a dry period of 139 days and an interval between calving of 420 days is normal. This means that, on the average, a buffalo/cow produces a calf at 14 months intervals.

(ii) Important livestock diseases : Just like human beings, livestocks like cow, buffalo, etc. Suffer from various diseases. The diseases in livestock are mainly caused by the attack of micro-organisms like virus, bacteria or fungi, or by an attack of worm parasites. Some important livestock diseases are as follows.

(1) Viral diseases : Foot and mouth diseases, pox.

(2) Bacterial diseases : Rinderpest, tuberculosis, anthrax.

(3) Fungal diseases : Ringworm.

Other Topics

Notes - Livestock

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