What does an Animal Breeder do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2019
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An animal breeder may engage in animal breeding for profit or as a hobby. Those seeking to breed animals for profit are often involved in the breeding of laboratory animals used for experimentation, pedigreed animals commonly used for shows and exhibition, or fur-bearing animals valued for their pelts or skin. Breeders who do so as a hobby are normally seeking to produce animals for show or companionship.

To be successful in the field of animal breeding, the breeder has to be well-informed about the creatures in her charge, whether they are domestic or farm animals. This requires her to know their growth and development processes, reproductive cycles and habits, nutritional needs and genetics. All this information is relative to breeding.

A breeder is in charge of her animals from the time they are conceived through birth and at least the first few months of their lives. In order for her to give them the best care possible, she is expected to know as much as possible about their needs, care and habits. This knowledge can be obtained through libraries or online sources. Local animal shelters, animal husbandry departments at colleges and universities and veterinary doctors or hospitals are also good sources of information.


In addition to feeding and sheltering her animals, an animal breeder is in charge of keeping the animals clean. This task involves thoroughly washing the animals with appropriate soaps and tools and regularly checking them for injuries and signs of disease or parasites. A good working knowledge of common pet maladies and their treatments can save the animal breeder money by avoiding frequent visits to the veterinarian.

Other tasks of the breeder include keeping meticulous records of the animals’ height, weight and other developments in their bodies that signify normal growth and maturity. Instruments and tests to determine ovulation and best breeding periods are essential to being a successful and profitable breeder. Tracking food intake and recording breeding histories are also essential parts of the animal breeder’s files.

A breeder can breed any domesticated animal she chooses. Her choice may be based on personal tastes, but other factors, such as funds available for animal upkeep and the size of the space that can be devoted to the animals’ shelter, are major considerations. Careful deliberation must be given to the costs involved as they increase exponentially if the breeding is successful.

Small animals that are popular among some breeders include mice, guinea pigs, monkeys and rats. These species can be bred for sale to laboratories for testing and experimentation. Some countries may require special licenses to breed a particular species; also, some breeding practices may be illegal in some countries. More commonly, small animals such as cats, rabbits and dogs are bred for pets or show and exhibition purposes. Horses and cows are the two most common large animals that are bred, although sheep and goats are standard breeding pets in some areas. Minks, foxes and chinchillas are the most popular animals bred for their fur.


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Post 3

Genetics is a fascinating part of animal breeding, although it can be taken too far. Unfortunately, when people are only interested in one trait they tend to ignore other things, like genetic diseases, which is why so many dog breeds are so unhealthy now.

But, when genetics are manipulated in the right way it can lead to some very satisfying traits in animals, like speed, or certain personalities, or colors. The wide range of colors available for almost every kind of domesticated bird is a good example, as in the wild each bird species usually only has one color type.

Post 2

I think a lot of people think breeding animals is an easy way to make a lot of money, but it almost always isn't. Even an exotic animal breeder will have difficulty turning a profit if they really care about the animals.

This is why there are so many puppy farms out there. If you think you should be making money, you start cutting corners, until eventually you aren't taking good care of your animals at all.

Post 1

Animal breeders also have to socialize the animals in whatever way is best for them. Parrots that have been handled by people as young birds, for example, are much more likely to be stress free as adults and to live longer. Hand raised birds are also a lot easier to sell and more fun to have as pets, because they are more willing to interact with people.

If you are breeding birds for release to the wild (like in an endangered animal program) you should do the opposite, and try to keep them as apart from people as possible. Breeders will even wear a mask, or use puppets to handle the birds so that they don't become too used to humans, or learn that humans will provide them with food.

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