Process or Methods of Animal Improvement | Introduction, Selection & Breeding

There are three approaches to enhancing animal quality, known as:

1. Introduction

The introduction involves importing high-quality livestock breeds with desirable traits and a strong productive capacity from other regions or countries. Prior to introducing these animals from foreign sources (exotic breeds), it’s essential to ensure that these breeds possess superior qualities compared to the local breeds.

Advantages of Introduction:

– Introduction brings new breeds not originally found in the local area.

– It boosts overall productivity.

– The introduction can help mitigate pest and disease issues.

– If a breed adapts well to the local environment, it can display improved quality and quantity in performance.

Disadvantages of Introduction:

– It might introduce new diseases to the new location.

– There’s a risk of introducing new pests to the area.

– The process could encounter challenges in terms of adapting to the new environment.

– The introduced breed might not perform optimally.

2. Selection Process

Selection involves the meticulous identification and picking of animals with valuable breeding attributes from a mixed population. Its purpose is to optimize the accumulation of genetic improvements.

Selection is classified into two primary categories:

1. Natural Selection: This pertains to an individual animal’s capacity to withstand unfavourable environmental conditions and reproduce. Those incapable of survival are naturally eliminated.

2. Artificial Selection: This form of selection is orchestrated by humans using their intelligence and influence to purposefully choose and mate animals, aiming to augment the overall animal count. Four distinct types of artificial selection exist:

a)      Mass selection

b)      Progeny selection

c)      Family selection

d)      Pedigree selection

Advantages of Selection

1. It ensures that only the finest naturally existing animals are chosen.

2. Animals displaying desirable traits are preferentially selected.

3. Animals hailing from superior breeds are selected for reproduction and dissemination.

4. Animals possessing undesirable traits are excluded and disregarded.

5. Selection helps curtail the spread of diseases within populations.

6. It aids in controlling the propagation of parasites associated with breeding stocks.

Disadvantages of Selection

1. The selection process is labour-intensive and time-consuming.

2. It incurs substantial costs in terms of both time and financial resources.

3. Adequate expertise might not be readily accessible for effective implementation.

4. Certain favourable traits of parental stocks might inadvertently be lost through the process of elimination.

5. New desirable characteristics are not introduced through the process of selection.

3. Animal Breeding

Breeding encompasses the enhancement of animals by transmitting inherited traits from parents to their offspring, achieved through controlled mating.

Varieties of Breeding

1. In-breeding: This involves mating animals more closely related than the population’s average, like father-daughter, son-mother, or sibling-to-sibling pairings.

2. Line-breeding: Similar to in-breeding, this method pairs animals that are not extremely closely related, like mating between cousins.

3. Crossbreeding: This joins high-quality animals from different breeds, often resulting in hybrid vigour. For instance, breeding the disease-resistant mature with the less disease-resistant white Fulani creates a hybrid blending the favourable traits of both breeds.

4. Outbreeding: This is the mating of unrelated animals within the same breed, producing spring with increased vigor and productivity.

Advantages of Breeding

1. Hybrid Vigor or Heterosis: Crossbreeding superior animals from distinct breeds yields offspring that outshine the average traits of either parent.

2. Enhanced Growth and Economy: Offspring grow faster and are more cost-effective to rear through crossbreeding.

3. Pure Breed Preservation: In-breeding facilitates the production of pure breeds or lines, concentrating and safeguarding specific qualities.

4. Environmental Resilience: Offspring generated through cross-breeding can better withstand environmental variations.

Disadvantages of Breeding

1. In-breeding Depression: This can lead to reduced vigor and performance.

2. Diminished Production:: In-breeding may result in reduced milk, egg output, slower growth rates, and fertility loss.

3. Reduced Disease Resistance: In-breeding might lead to poorer resistance against diseases.

See also:

Animal Improvement | Aims, Methods & Improvements

Crop Improvement Process, Selection, Breeding, Advantages and Disadvantages




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