Agricultural Science JSSCE Notes

Characteristics/Breeds Of Farm Animals

CONTENT:  (1)   Farm  animals.

                     (2)   Characteristics  of  Cattle  &  Sheep.

                        (3) Breeds of farm animals

Sub-Topic 1: Farm Animals

Farm animals have certain basic features that make them belong to a particular group .These characteristics help to differentiate them from other forms of animals and also enable some of the animals to adapt to their natural habitat .Examples of farm animals include: Cattle,Sheep,Goat,Pig,Poultry,Rabbit,Fish,Snails,Guinea-Pig,Grass-Cutter,Donkey & Horse.

CATTLE: Cattle belong to hoofed mammals. Some are humped (Bos indicus) e.g.Sokoto Gudali, Red bororo &White Fulani while others are humpless (Bos Taurus) e.g. Muturu &N’dama. Cattle is  raised mainly for meat and milk.

Characteristics  of  Cattle:

 Cattle are ruminant animals. They are large –bodied animals. They have large udder with four glands .They have four pairs of hoofs on each limb .Beef cattle are lighter than  the dairy type .Some cattle are used as work animals e.g.Sokoto Gudali,White Fulani ,N’dama e.t.c. Some are resistance to trypanosomiasis e.g.  N’dama, Muturu, etc. Gestation period(pregnancy period ) is 283 days.

SHEEP :They originated from Iran or Iraq in Asia .Sheep is raised in all country of the world for meat (mutton) ,milk and wool .They are important in Tropical Africal countries like Northern Nigeria,Ethiopia,Kenya ,Somalia,Sudan and Tanzania.

Characteristics  of  Sheep:

Sheep are ruminants mostly raised extensively for meat, milk and wool .They are small bodied ruminants ,hollow-horned and even toed .Only male have horns except Ouda The male are heavily manned . Gestation period is 150 days. Examples of sheep are :Balami,TheFulani (Ouda ), Yankasa (Hausa ), West African Dwarf(WAD) Sheep.  .


        1.       State five farm animals that are  raised in Nigeria.

         2.      Mention four characteristics each of (i) Cattle and (ii) Sheep.

Sub-Topic 2: Characteristics of Goat and Pig.

GOAT: They are important ruminants that can adapt and maintain  themselves in very harsh environment. They can withstand diseases, high temperature and can survive where other animals cannot .Goats are raised for meat, milk and skin. They are small bodied animals .Both sexes have horns .Goats are scavengers and very inquisitive .Gestation period is 150 days. Examples of goats are: Red bororo (Maradi),Fulani (Sahel ),Kano brown,Nubian and WAD goat.

PIG: They are most productive of all farm animals . A sow (matured adult female pig) can produce between 8 and 16 litters at a time .Pigs are raised for meat and lard. They are omnivorous animals .They are good converters of feed into meat. They mature early  and can  breed anytime of the year. Pig production requires small initial capital with high return .Gestation period is 114 days .Examples of pigs are :Landrace ,Large white(Yorkshire),Duroc Jersey ,Large black ,Poland china ,Chester white  e.t.c.


1.   State four features each of (i) goat) and (ii) pig.

2.   State  five breeds of pig we have.

Sub-Topic 3:   a. Characteristics of Rabbit.

b. Characteristics of Poultry.

c.  Characteristics of Horse.

RABBIT: They are .prolific animals that can produce up to four times in a year. Rabbit are found both in temperate and tropical countries .They are raised for their meat, skin (pelt) and hair (fur). They are easy to house ,handle and manage. They reach maturity weight in about 5-6 months .Rabbit meat is of good quality .They are prone to stress and the rate of cannibalism is high . Examples of rabbit are: California white, California red , Chinchilla, New Zealand white, Flemish giant, Angora  Dutch Rabbit, Australia White, West African Rabbit(Giant Rat) etc.

POULTRY: Poultry are birds raised for  meat ,eggs or feathers. They are found both in temperate and tropical countries. Types of poultry birds are: Domestic fowl, duck, turkey ,goose ,guinea fowl, pigeon . Fowl is the most popular of all and this makes the discussion on poultry to be centred on domestic fowl .Domestic fowls are grouped  into two :Local fowl and Exotic fowl.

The local fowls are light in weight ,hardy ,resistant to diseases ,poor growth rate, low egg production and production of white eggs .

Exotic fowls are  grouped  into two :Light breeders and heavy breeders

(i)         Light Breeders : small sized, body  early maturity ,good egg production, production of white shelled eggs  e.g. leghorn.

(ii)        Heavy breeders: large sized body, slow maturity, poor egg production,  production of brown or tainted  shelled eggs e.g. Rhode Island Red, Sussex.

HORSE: It is a non-ruminant animal raised mainly for work on the farm , riding for pleasure  and sport, transportation of goods and human beings  and for traditional ceremonies such as “Durbar festivals” in the Northern  states of Nigeria.


1.      Mention  four features of rabbit.

2.      State five types of domesticated  birds that were referred to as poultry.

3.      Mention three uses of a horse

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