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.