What are the classes of farm animals

Farm animal husbandry

Farm Animals and Animal Husbandry - Biology

Have you ever bought eggs in the supermarket? Then you may have noticed that the price of eggs is very different. For example, it gives out eggs Free run, these are usually cheaper, and eggs out Free range, these are more expensive. But what do these terms mean and how does this create a price difference? You will learn this and much more in the following.

Farm animals - definition

Chickens are one of the Farm animals, as well as cattle and pigs. But what exactly are farm animals?
Farm animals are animals that have a certain trait or ability economic benefits bring. For example, they provide food or raw materials for us humans. For a better understanding, you are given a few examples of farm animals and their economic benefits:

  • Chicken provide eggs (laying hens) and meat,
  • Bovine provide milk, meat and leather,
  • Pigs deliver meat,
  • Sheep provide wool, milk and meat,
  • Bees deliver honey.

Difference between farm animals and pets

Maybe you have a dog as a domestic animal. How does a farm animal differ from such a pet? Let's look at that in the form of a table:

Farm animals Pets
Examples Chickens, pigs, cattle Dogs, cats, hamsters
Reason for the attitude economic benefit Joy in living together
Place of attitude Stables and meadows mostly in the house

However, there are also cases in which an animal is not clearly identified as a household or Farm animal can be called. For example, the dog is usually a pet, but it can also be used as a tracking dog or a guide dog for the blind.

Farm animal husbandry

As mentioned earlier, farm animals provide an economic benefit. You earn money with them if the costs for feed and keeping are lower than the earnings from the products (meat, milk, eggs, etc.). In order to achieve the highest possible profit, for example the Yield per animal increase. Be for it highly bred breeds used, for example cows that give a lot of milk or cattle that have a lot of muscle meat.

Another way to optimize profit is that Reduction of expenses. This has resulted in the so-called Factory farming developed. The costs for the feed and for the provision of stable and meadow areas are minimized.

Factory farming

The principle of factory farming is simple: if you keep as many animals as possible in as little space as possible, you optimize your profit. Because providing little space means that expenses are kept low.

Battery hold

When it comes to keeping laying hens, there are still those in some countries Battery storage. This is a special form of Cage. Here the chickens are kept in small cages that are stacked next to and on top of each other. The chickens can hardly move in these cages. Her toes recede from standing on the grid floor. There is no daylight. The chickens are fed automatically and in strict doses. The eggs are also automatically removed and sorted. This saves expenses in several places: The space for the chickens is very small and the use of human labor is kept as low as possible. This type of chicken keeping has been banned in Germany since 2010.

Free run

In the Free run the chickens are not kept in cages but - as the name suggests - on the floor of a barn. The chickens can run around and interact with each other. There are nests, feeding and drinking facilities, perches and a droppings pit. Here, too, feeding and egg collection usually take place automatically. With this type of husbandry, the run-out area is often kept too small, because here too one would like to keep the expenses as low as possible. The chickens cannot avoid each other and sometimes fatal conflicts arise. In addition, they often come into contact with their feces. This allows diseases to spread faster.


Mast posture can be found where animals are kept for meat production, for example pigs. In a fattening house, these are kept in the smallest possible space. The stable is in several Bays divided, in each of which up to 12 animals are kept. Feces and urine run off through crevices in the ground and are often used as fertilizer. Feeding concentrated feed often takes place automatically.
Even in fattening houses, there are often conflicts between the animals in the small space. This is why the tails are removed from the pigs at birth - so they cannot bite each other into it. A fattening house must be well ventilated because of the odor caused by excrement and urine, but there are often no windows.

You may have a strange feeling when you read about factory farming. Although there are strict rules for every type of keeping, the welfare of the animal is usually neglected. The factory farming is more and more often in the criticism and attempts are made by enacting new laws a species-appropriate husbandry to reach.

Appropriate husbandry

As you can probably already guess, animal welfare takes into account the natural way of life of the animals. Often one connects the species-appropriate animal husbandry with the ecological or organic farming. If the products, e.g. eggs and meat, meet certain requirements, one also speaks of Organic products.

One possibility of species-appropriate husbandry is that Free range. If we look at the laying hens as an example, an additional outdoor area is created for them. The structure of the barn is similar to that of the barn. The free running surface is greenedSo there are meadows and also trees and bushes. The chickens can peck for worms in the grass and have much more freedom of movement. As a result, they are less stressed and also physically fitter. However, in the open space there is a risk that the chickens will be attacked by birds of prey or attacked by parasites. Infectious diseases can also do this from the outside to be carried to the chickens.
There are also mobile stable systems - maybe you already have one in a pasture Chicken cart seen. In this way, the run-out area can be changed regularly. The floor is less worn and pathogens can accumulate much more difficult.

There are also forms of free-range husbandry for pigs and cattle. The animals graze on pastures. There are huts, for example made of wood, for protection.

As a rule, animal welfare is natural more elaborate than factory farming. You need more space for the animals and an additional run. The supply of feed is also usually more expensive than with factory farming. The necessary effort by humans, for example the effort involved in feeding and taking eggs, is also increased.

Advantages and disadvantages of the forms of housing

For the keeper, i.e. the farmer, free-range husbandry means higher costs and greater effort. As a result, the farmer achieves a lower yield. In order to still make a profit, his products are more expensive than the products from factory farming. Thus, free-range eggs usually cost more than barn eggs.

In free-range farming, the dangers that are brought in from the environment are higher than in factory farming. Birds of prey and parasites, for example, pose a threat. In factory farming, however, there are more frequent conflicts between the individual animals and the spread of diseases through faeces and urine.

Of course, in any farm animal husbandry, an animal is considered to have a specific use. Overall, the welfare of the animal is taken into account significantly more in species-appropriate husbandry than in factory farming. Therefore, if possible, you should use free-range products and only consume animal products, especially meat, in moderation.

This video

This video will teach you the terms Farm animals and Farm animal husbandry easily explained. You now know how farm animals differ from pets and why products from species-appropriate husbandry are more expensive than from factory farming. Also to the Farm animals you will find interactive exercises and a worksheet. A presentation on this topic should no longer be a problem.