Livestock refers to farm animals kept or raised for consumption, work or leisure. In general, poultry is separated as a distinct group of animals. Poultry is a collective term for all domesticated avian. The purpose is for food consumption or, the carcass of such avian dressed/processed for human consumption.

Livestock are domesticated terrestrial animals that are raised to provide a diverse array of goods and services such as traction, meat, milk, eggs, hides, fibres and feathers. The term systems embraces all aspects of the supply and use of livestock commodities, including the distribution and abundance of livestock, the different production systems in which they are raised, estimates of consumption and production now and in the future, the people engaged in production and the benefits and impacts of keeping livestock. These web pages provide geographical information and resources relating to global livestock systems.


Chickens are the most ubiquitous of all livestock species. They are to be found more or less everywhere inhabited by people. Because of their rapid turnover and efficient conversion of feed into protein. They provide the first response to growing demand because efficient production units can be set up very quickly. Between 1960 and 2010 the global stocks of chicken increased 5 times. Thus, with average carcass weights more than doubled. This gave rise to a roughly 12-fold increase in chicken meat over the 50-year period. Most of this growth has been in intensive units specialized in meat or egg production, rather than in backyard systems that tend to raise dual-purpose birds for home consumption and local sale.


Ruminant livestock species such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats. They are generally much more dependent directly on the environment in which they live for fodder and feed resources than are pigs and chickens. The production context is therefore much more dependent on prevailing environmental conditions than is the case with pigs and chickens. The context also depends on capital investment, degree of specialization and whether they are raised on grasslands / feedlots or whether they contribute to mixed crop-livestock farming systems.

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