Criteria for classifying farm animals and classes

    • Size
    • Habitat
    • Reproduction
    • Stomach type
    • Uses


Animal husbandry is the science of breeding and caring for farm animals. The farm animals being cared for are referred to as livestock. There are five categories of livestock based on some criteria. Animals can be classified according to their sizes, habitat, reproduction pattern, stomach type or digestive system and uses or purpose for which they are kept/reared.


Classification of animals based on their size

This criterion focuses on how big or small the animal is. There are two classes based on size

  • Largefarmanimalsg horse, cattle, camel, donkey.
  • Smallfarmanimalsg rabbit, snail, goat, sheep, pig, chicken etc.


Classification of animals based on their habitat

animal habitat refers to the home or dwelling place of an animal. The place an animals is adapted to living is either in water or on land. Animals that lives on land are referred to as terrestrialanimals e.g goat, chicken, rabbit etc. Animals that live in water are referred to as aquaticanimals e.g fish


Classification of animals based on reproduction

This criterion focuses on the way they birth the young or give rise to offspring. Some animals birth their young in live form, they are called mammals e.g pig, rabbit, sheep, horse etc. some animals laysegg which later matures to give rise to their young e.g fish, poultry, snail, bees etc.


Classification of animals based on stomach type

Some animals have simple stomach and basically feed on concentrate feed stuff they are called monogastric or nonruminant animals e.g chicken, pig etc. Some animals possess complex stomach which have four compartments (rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum) they are called ruminant or polygastric animalse.g cattle, sheep, goat etc. these ruminant animals chew cud i.e regurgitate consumed forage and chew properly for a second swallow.


Note: it is important to know that some animals can maintain a constant body temperature, they are called warm blooded animals e.g cattle, sheep, goat etc while some cannot maintain a constant body temperature; their body temperature is dictated by the temperature of their environment e.g fishes.


Classification of animals based on their uses

Farm animals are classified into

Work/draught animals

Theses are animals which are used as a source of farm power or labour. For example: bulls are used to draw plough and carts, oxen and buffalo are used to pull wagons and plough, while horses, donkeys and camels are used as beast of burden.


Characteristics of work animals

  1. They are strong
  2. They can withstand stress
  3. They have large frame
  4. They are docile i.e easy to control


Dairy animals

They are livestock whose females are used for milk production. The types of livestock that are used for milk production are: cattle, sheep and goats.

Characteristics of dairy animals

  1. They have well-formed udder
  2. Have a well-developed milk veins
  3. Have a narrow and deep belly
  4. Have a placid disposition.


Guard animals

These are animals which are raised and trained to provide protection for man and his properties. E.g dog and goose.

Characteristics of guard animals

  1. They are smart
  2. They react quickly to stimuli e.g smell, noise and movements.
  3. They are aggressive in nature.


Pet animals

These are animals which are kept as friend or companion of man. e.g rabbit, guinea pig and dogs.

Characteristics of pet animals

  1. They are attractive and good looking
  2. They are calm and easy to control
  3. They are always close to the owner/keeper.



These are animals kept for their flesh. There are various delicacies that can be derived from flesh of different animals. Commonly consumed flsh are beef (cattle meat), pork (pig meat), mutton (sheep meat), chevon (goat meat), chicken, fish, turkey, chicken, veal (calf meat) etc. Common delicacies gotten from these flesh includes cow tail peper soup, catfish pepper soup, isi ewu, bokoto, pomo pepper stew, fish sauce etc.



These are animals kept for sporting activities. Some sporting activities in which farm animals can be engaged in are cockfight, ram fighting, polo, fishing etc.

Characteristics of sport animals

  1. They are strong.
  2. They can withstand stress.
  3. They have large frame.
  4. They are fast.



  1. What is a farm animal?
  2. Define Dairy animal?
  3. Mention three characteristics of dairy animals.
  4. What are guard animals?
  5. List two examples of work animals
  6. What do you understand by animal husbandry?
  7. What are the criteria for classifying farm animals?
  8. List the classes under each criteria and give examples.
  9. Give three characteristicseach of:
    1. Guard animals.
    2. Sport animals.
    3. Pet animals.



  1. The following animals are used for milk production except A. Horse B. Sheep C. Goat D. Cattle.
  2. ______ animal react quickly to stimuli A. Work B. Meat C. Guard D. Dairy
  3. All these animals possess a simple stomach except A. Geese B. Cow C. Duck D. Sheep.
  4. ______ are animals which are kept as friend or companion of man. A. Aquatic animals Pet C. Poultry D. Guard animals.
  5. Which is the odd one out A. Rumen B. Reticulum C. Gullet D. Abomasum



  1. List five uses of farm animals?
  2. List five criteria used in classifying farm animals.
  3. State five examples of poultry birds


See also






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