Understanding the uses and distribution of farm animals is crucial for farmers, policymakers, and researchers in developing strategies for sustainable agriculture and food security. Farm animals have been an essential part of human life for thousands of years. These animals provide various benefits such as food, clothing, transportation, and work. The distribution of farm animals varies across different regions, influenced by several factors such as climate, topography, cultural practices, and economic considerations

Uses and Distribution of Farm Animals

Farm animals have been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. They have been domesticated and bred for their various uses, ranging from food production to transportation, and even companionship. Today, farm animals play a crucial role in various sectors of society, including agriculture, medicine, and research.

Farm animals are raised for various purposes, including food, work, clothing, security, sport, recreation, fertilizer, medicine, raw materials, and livestock feed. Each usage has its unique benefits, as we explain below:

  1. Food: Farm animals provide a range of food products such as meat, milk, eggs, wool, and by-products such as feathers, bones, blood, and fat. These products are valuable sources of nutrition and materials for the food industry.
  2. Work: Larger farm animals, such as bullocks, donkeys, camels, and horses, can be used for work on the farm, drawing machinery, carrying loads, and transporting people or goods.
  3. Clothing: Animal products, including wool, skin, and furs, is used for clothing, footwear, bags, and drums. Skins and fibres from cattle and sheep are valuable materials for leather production.
  4. Security and Protection: Some farm animals, such as dogs and parrots, are used for security and protection purposes. Dogs are trained to assist guards in protecting properties, while parrots can alert the keepers with sounds.
  5. Sport and Recreation: Farm animals, like horses and chickens, are used for sporting activities such as horse racing, polo games, and cockfighting.
  6. Fertilizer: Animal droppings from different farm animals are excellent sources of organic manure, enriching the soil with essential nutrients necessary for plant growth.
  7. Medicine: Medicines derived from farm animals, such as thyroid glands and hormones from sheep and cattle, are used to cure various diseases, including diabetes.
  8. Raw Materials: Various animal products and by-products are used by agro-allied industries. Animal bones, hooves, and fats are used in the production of adhesives, candles, soap, and paints.
  9. Livestock Feed: Slaughtered farm animals can be used as feed ingredients, such as bone meal and blood meal, for other livestock animals.

Distribution of Farm Animals in Nigeria.

Farmers commonly rear a variety of animals in different parts of the nation, with each animal thriving in specific locations due to various factors. Here are some of the major farm animals and the states where they are predominantly raised.

Farm AnimalMajor State(s) of Production
CattleKano, Sokoto, Kaduna
Goats/SheepNorthern states (e.g. Katsina, Zamfara) and some other parts of the nation (e.g. Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti)
PoultryMost of the major cities in the nation (e.g. Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt)
FishStates with large water bodies (e.g. Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers)
PigsMost southern states (e.g. Edo, Delta, Rivers) and other places where the weather is conducive (e.g. Plateau, Benue)
RabbitsCities where poultry are successfully reared (e.g. Ibadan, Abeokuta)
DucksLagos, Ogun, Delta, Rivers, and other states with large water bodies
TurkeysOgun, Ondo, Osun, Edo, Plateau, and some northern states
HorsesPlateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, and some northern states
DonkeysKano, Sokoto, Katsina, and other northern states
CamelsBorno, Yobe, Sokoto, and other northern states with desert or semi-desert conditions
SnailsEdo, Delta, Oyo, Ondo, and other states with suitable climatic conditions
BeesPlateau, Kaduna, Kogi, and other states with suitable environmental conditions
Guinea FowlBenue, Kogi, Nassarawa, and some other northern states
GeeseKaduna, Kano, Plateau, and some other northern states
QuailKaduna, Kano, Plateau, and some other northern states
DeerOgun, Osun, Cross River, and other states with suitable climatic and environmental conditions
EmusCross River, Edo, Delta, and some other southern states
YaksPlateau, Bauchi, Taraba, and other northern states with suitable environmental conditions
LlamasPlateau, Kaduna, Kano, and some other northern states
AlpacasPlateau, Kaduna, Kano, and some other northern states
BisonPlateau, Bauchi, and some other northern states with suitable environmental conditions
ElkCross River, Ogun, Osun, and some other states with suitable climatic and environmental conditions
PeafowlOyo, Ogun, and some other southern states
SwansLagos, Delta, and other states with suitable water bodies
BuffaloesNiger, Kaduna, Adamawa, and some other northern states
RaccoonsEdo, Delta, Ondo, and some other southern states with suitable environmental conditions

Factors Affecting the Distribution of Farm Animals in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the distribution of farm animals is influenced by various factors. These factors include the culture of the people, climate, availability of natural pasture, religion, and incidence of pests and diseases.

  1. Culture of the people: Animal rearing is a common occupation among families in the northern part of Nigeria, and as a result, most of the cattle, sheep, and goats are reared in the north. The culture of animal rearing is deeply ingrained in the people of the north, and it has become a way of life for them.
  2. Climate: The climate of a place is a significant determinant of the type and number of farm animals that can be reared in that particular location. Factors such as rainfall, temperature, light, wind, and relative humidity are critical in determining the viability of animal rearing. For instance, the north, where rainfall and relative humidity are low, is more suitable for rearing cattle, goats, and sheep than any other part of the country. In contrast, much rainfall in the south increases the spread of pests and diseases, affecting animal production.
  3. Religion: Religion also plays a significant role in the distribution of farm animals in Nigeria. For instance, goats and rams are more abundant in the northern and western parts of the country, where most of the Muslim population resides. These animals are used for festivals, and the Muslim religion forbids the eating of pigs. Therefore, pigs are not commonly reared in the north, where the Muslim population is predominant.
  4. Availability of natural pasture: Natural pasture, which is critical in feeding cattle, goats, and sheep, is more abundant in the north. As a result, animal rearing in the north is more favourable due to the abundance of natural pasture.
  5. Incidence of pests and diseases: The prevalence of pests and diseases is also an important factor that influences the distribution of farm animals in Nigeria. For instance, the tsetse fly, which is a carrier of the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis, is prevalent in the south. The much rainfall and big trees in the south contribute to the increase in the population of tsetse flies, affecting animal production.

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