All animals used for breeding must be fit and healthy. Good and bad qualities can be passed from the parents to the young. This is called heredity and the young will inherit characteristics from both the parents.
Why select animals for breeding?
The young animal will have the same characteristics (qualities) as its parents. Animals which produce good quantities of milk can pass this characteristic to their young. Cattle and sheep which quickly grow big and fat can produce calves and iambs with the same characteristics. Selecting good males and females is the means of improving the quality of livestock in the future.
The easiest way to improve your animals is by selecting a good male. In this way good characteristics can be quickly spread through the herd.
If you have ten cows and one of them is good she will produce one good calf each time she is used for breeding. If you breed the ten cows with a good bull each cow can produce a good calf. So selecting a good male will improve the quality of your herd more quickly.
When selecting animals for breeding you should take into consideration the following points:
The shape of the body must be considered when choosing animals for breeding:
· the animal should be well built and its body well proportioned and muscled. The muscles of the back will give you a good idea of the animal's condition;
· animals with any type of deformity (bad shape) should not be used for breeding as many of the deformities can be inherited by the young.
Legs of the animals
Good legs and feet are important so that the animal can get around to feed. The legs of the female will have to carry extra weight during pregnancy. The male will have difficulty in mounting the female if its back legs are weak.
Reproductive organs of males
The testicles and penis of the male must be correctly formed and free from deformities and infection.
4. What are the animals used for?
When selecting cows, buffalos and other animals for milk production you should select females which have good udders and teats and are docile. Docile animals let down the milk more easily than others. The amount of milk produced after the birth of the first young is important in judging the quality of a milking animal. A good male to father milk animals will be one which had a good milking mother.
When breeding animals for meat the rate at which they gain weight is an important characteristic to consider. Animals used for work should be strong, with good feet and legs and need to be docile. The parents need to show these characteristics.
The ability of the female to feed and wean her young is also important. This is an essential factor to consider when breeding pigs.
If you can keep a record of your animals you will know which ones were good for milk, meat, producing young and staying healthy. You can also keep a record of the parents.
If you keep records it will help you to judge which animals to keep for breeding and which males to castrate.
You must remember never to breed between father and daughter. This will increase the chances of any bad characteristics of the male being passed on to the young. This is called inbreeding.
1. What animals must be selected for breeding?
2. Why do we select animals for breeding?
3. What should you take into consideration when selecting animals for breeding?