Livestock Production: Pigs, Poultry, Rabbits and Camel Breeds - Form 1 Agriculture Notes

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Pig Breeds


  • They are sparsely haired and therefore cannot withstand cold.
  • Pigs wallow when it is hot due to absence of sweat glands.
  • They breathe fast when it is hot.
  • They have bristles instead of hair.


Large White

  • Origin: Britain
  • Kept for bacon and pork production.
  • Long, large and white in colour.
  • Ears straight and erect.
  • Has dished face and snout.
  • Most prolific and with good mothering ability.
  • Fairly hardy.


  • Origin: Denmark
  • White and longer than large white.
  • Ears drooping.
  • Good for bacon production.
  • Very prolific with good mothering ability.
  • Requires high level of management.

Wessex Saddle

  • Back Origin: England
  • Colour: Black with white forelegs and shoulders.
  • Straight snout and drooping ears.
  • Good for bacon and pork.
  • Good for keeping outdoors.
  • Excellent mothering instincts.

Other pig breeds include:

  • Berkshire,
  • Middle-white
  • Duroc Jersey pig.

Pigs can be crossed to obtain hybrids or crosses.

Advantages of Crosses

  • Increased litter size.
  • Early maturing.
  • Increase in body length.
  • High proportion of lean meat to fat.

Poultry Breeds

There are three types of chicken breeds:

  • The light breeds kept for egg production.
  • The heavy breeds kept for meat production.
  • Dual purpose breeds - kept for both eggs and meat production.

Characteristics of Light Breeds

  • Never go broody hence poor sitters.
  • Excellent layers (over 220 eggs per year).
  • Poor meat producers (hens can attain 2kg; cocks 3kgs)
  • Very nervous and exhibit high degree of cannibalism.
  • Hen's comb is large and bent over one eye and cock's comb is large with 5 - 6 serrations.


  • Leghorns,
  • Anconas,
  • Silkies,
  • Minorcas.

Characteristics of Heavy Breeds

  • Can lay few eggs and provide good meat as broilers.
  • Can go broody.
  • Heavier and bigger in size.
  • Grow fast.


  • Light Sussex,
  • Cornish Dark
  • White.


Characteristics of Dual-Purpose Breeds

  • Go broody.
  • Have good meat.
  • Disease resistant (do not require high standard of management).
  • Rarely exhibit cannibalism.

Examples: Rhode Island Red.


  • These are developed by crossing two different breeds.
  • They are superior in performance.
  • Can attain 2kg in 56 days for broilers and layover 200 eggs per year for layers.


  • Shavers,
  • Thombers
  • Isabrown.

Rabbit Breeds

Kept for the following reasons:

  • To provide meat, fur, hair or wool.
  • To provide skin for leather.
  • To provide manure.
  • As pet animals.
  • Used for research purposes.


  • Californian white: white, very prolific black ears, nose and feet).
  • New Zealand white: (white with pink eyes - good for meat).
  • Flemish giant (dark grey - good for meat).
  • Angora rabbit (white, kept for wool production).
  • Chinchillah (greyish, kept for its fur).
  • Earlops (white with droopy ears).
  • Kenya white (white, smallest of breeds).

Camels Breeds

Kept for;

  • Transport,
  • Racing,
  • To provide milk, meat and wool.

There are two species of camels.

Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius)

  • Origin: Arabia and Syria
  • Are single humped, have light body
  • Good for racing and rapid transport.

Bacterian (Camelus bacterianus)

  • Origin: Central Asia
  • Has double humps, heavier and has shorter legs.
  • Can live in cold regions hence its thick and long coat acts as insulation.
  • Capable of shedding the coat during spring.
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