Every day millions of animals live on farms. They are used for meat their skin, milk and eggs and have continued to be a huge source of food, income and other materials for humans for thousands of years. Without animals we would struggle to survive even in our technology dominated world. They are, even though we may not realise it the back bone to our lives and have been for so long. But how did they get there how, come they now have the perfect characteristics for what we want them to do?
In this piece of writing I will be discovering their origins and what adaptions we have made to make them the perfect farm animals. Wild sheep were first domesticated in 9000 BC and originally came from Mesopotamia; the first sheep that were domesticated were the Mouflon sheep. Mesopotamia is a part of North Africa and lies across Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. As the main religion in this area is Muslim, they were the ideal animal for eating and using their other products. Sheep are some of the earliest ever animals that were kept by humans for their resources.
The reason for this is probably for all the different uses they can have to humans. Their milk, meat, skin, wool and also how they are very versatile to live in different conditions make them one of the most common mammals in the world with their numbers reaching 1 billion . The Mouflon sheep are the ancestors of our modern day sheep but there are many different characteristic between them such as the shaggy brown hair the Mouflon sheep and the huge curly horns which were used for fighting other male sheep for females.
The sheep have been selectively bred now to considerably reduce the size of the horns and to get rid of them all together. The horns are unnecessary as the females are usually just put with one male and so have no choice and also that, if the sheep get in a rage, they could harm the farmers and other walkers. As people relied more and more on these Mouflon sheep they were traded across the world were the people selectively bred different ones for the certain characteristics that they desired.
For example animals kept in the hills would need short stubby legs so that they had more stability and wouldn’t trip over rocks. Sheep are just as useful to us as they were to people, in some cases, 11,000 years ago with all their different assets which make them so valuable to us as a species. The chicken population is huge, with around 15 times more raised annually then there are humans on this earth. They are kept on farms but are also useful at home for their free eggs.
Their eggs are so useful for all of us whether it be for cooking or even adding that extra shine to your hair. Their meat is also a popular meal and their feathers can be used also. A chicken has so many uses and that is why they are the most populous bird in the world. The chicken originally came from India and its surrounding countries, but despite the fact that they are now used for meat and eggs they were first domestically bred for people to watch cockfighting.
They were first domesticated around 5400 years ago in the Indus Valley and as time went on; our uses for them gradually turned more to their meat and eggs. Red male jungle fowl look very similar to our modern day cockerels but are smaller. Here is a perfect example of them being selectively bred for their bigger bodies for more meat the modern chickens are a lot gentler and less scared of predators as they have become used to humans being around them.
Chickens have also been selectively bred to lay eggs a lot more often than jungle fowl. The average chicken lays an egg every 25 hours compared to the jungle fowl’s 5-6 small eggs in the spring. Chickens come in all different shapes and sizes but, despite being originally bred for fighting, the owners own them for pretty much only one reason, their eggs and meat. In this piece of writing I have only talked about two farm animals but every animal has their own complex and interesting origins.
Animals have been changed and adapted by us to make them ideal for our 21st century world however their reasons for first being domesticated were still very similar to our reasons for still keeping them. It has taken us thousands of years to get them to how they want but even if they were in their original form, they would still provide us with so much. We have adapted them to live in the harshest conditions and also to produce a lot more meat and eggs. We rely on animals so much and we continue to exploit what these amazing animals have.