You must have heard or read about Ghanaian dresses, hairstyles, culture, marriage, and so on, but how much do you know about their domestic animals? The country is rich in animal life, among other things that it is blessed with. Talk about large mammals such as lions, leopards, hyenas, antelope, elephants, and buffaloes or different species of lizards, tortoises, and giant snails; you will find a lot of them in the country. As we explore some of the domestic animals in Ghana, not only will you get to know about each of them and their distinctive features, but you will also get to appreciate God's creative work in the process.
While there are different classes of animals, domestic animals are those that have been tamed and are kept by humans. Some of these animals serve different purposes to the people who raise them. While some are used to work, others serve as a food source while there are those that are pets. This is to say that there are various reasons why people domesticate animals.
Dogs have come to be kept as household pets unlike before when the primary purpose for which people used dogs was to guard hunters and areas of land against trespassers. Over time, dogs have become widely accepted in homes to a level where in virtually every home, especially among the rich, you will always find a dog. In fact, there are quite a number of people in Ghana who regard their dogs as members of their family.
Apart from being a pet, some people now see dog rearing as a lucrative business in Ghana in recent times. Some of the species of dogs that you would find in Ghana today include German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Boerboel, Mastiff, and others.
Snails are a delicacy among many Ghanaians. Not only are they rich in nutrients but their shells can also be used for aesthetic purposes. In Ghana, the snail is also referred to as the Giant Ghana Snail or the Giant Tiger Land Snail. The Giant Ghana snail has the capacity to lay up to 1,200 eggs a year on an individual basis.
Ducks are in the class of birds in Ghana, and they are of different species. Apart from the White-faced whistling duck, there is also the Fulvous whistling duck, the Knob-billed duck, and the Hartlaub's duck. Some Ghanaians have also found rearing the bird to be a well-paying venture, especially when it comes to the demand for their eggs and meat.
In Ghana, sheep play an essential role when it comes to food production systems. They tend to be very popular because of their ability to adapt to different climates. You will see quite some sheep being raised in various settlements like villages or rural areas.
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Just like sheep, goats are also another common animal in the country. There is a different set of people who rear them for various purposes such as for food production and business profiting. This set of animals also has the capacity to adapt to various climates, and they can be easy to raise sometimes.
Zebu is a breed of cattle that originated in South-West Asia. It evolved from three breeds of Indian cattle, and so, it is also referred to as Indicine cattle or humped cattle. Most of the time, you will find zebu cattle to be red or grey in colour. They are horned with loose skin, large ears, and a hump which is high above their shoulders. They are subspecies of domestic cattle and they have come to be popular in Ghana because of the unique benefits derived from them. Specifically, the breed is used for milk, meat, and as draft animals.
7. Guinea fowls
The rearing of Guinea fowl tends to be advancing each day because of the demands that an average Ghanaian places on it. Although there are some who detest the noise, there are others who tend to appreciate its ability to raise alarms in case of anything unusual that might take place around them. Some of their species include the Crested Guinea Fowl, the Vulturine Guinea Fowl, and the Helmeted Guinea Fowl.
Ghanaian cats are special. This is due to their tiny stature, almost kitten-like huge eyes and ears. The cat is one of the common pets that Ghanaians keep. It has a friendly nature and can quickly adapt to any environment it finds itself in.
Not only do people domesticate ostriches but there are those who engage in the ostrich-rearing as their primary business. One of the reasons why ostrich meat is becoming high in demand is because it has the least fat, calories, and cholesterol among all kinds of meat that we have. It is also interesting to know that apart from it serving as meat, its flesh can also be used to produce leather. The feathers, after drying, can be used to make feather dusters that can be used to clean fine machinery and equipment, for decorations purpose, among other purposes.
Chickens are so much in demand, especially during the festive periods. This is one of the reasons why quite a number of people in Ghana keep them in their homes. With chickens at their disposal, they are able to meet their daily demands without having to go and buy meat from the market.
Pigs are common domestic animals in Ghana. Although some people detest their smell and dirty behaviour, pig-rearing still remains a lucrative economic venture which low-income livestock farmers practice. With proper and adequate management, its proceeds are usually very high.
Pigeons are domestic birds that are so easy to raise within the yard in your home or the roof of your house. Within just six months of age, they are capable of laying eggs, producing two baby pigeons on an average every month.
13. Honey bees
Local honey has been found to have massive potential to turn around the economic fortunes of the Ghanaian economy. Having discovered the great potential that is in the production of honey, the honey bee has graduated to a level where it is used to produce honey-based drinks known as Royal Honey Bee.
The dual benefits of turkey to Ghanaians are the meat and eggs that can be obtained from it. Since its farming is just like that of chickens, ducks, and quails, quite a number of households are encouraged to raise it. Moreover, while some do it for their consumption, some others have found it to be a productive business because of the high demand for turkey meat. Some of the common breeds of turkey that you can see in Ghana include the White Holland and Standard Bronze. This is because they are the meat-producing breed.
The latest discovery which is prompting people to eat white meat has popularised and caused the increase in demand for grasscutters in Ghana. Because of this high demand, people are beginning to see grasscutter-keeping as a viable venture worth investing in. Another reason is that the cost of raising it not high. With only a little free space in your compound where you can put up grasscutter farming cages or grasscutter pen, you are good to go.
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16. Brahma birds
One of the things that interest some people who farm this species of bird is because of their size. Consequently, it is popularly referred to as 'the king of chickens'. As part of its uniqueness, it is a docile and calm breed that serves as meat as well as an egg-laying bird.
Quails are other common domesticated birds in Ghana, and that is partly because of the rich nutritional value that their meat has. Furthermore, their meat is very effective in the treatment of certain diseases like diabetes. Another thing about quails that seems to make it much-accepted in the country is the eggs. In fact, quail production is now seen as a viable business that youth can venture into without much capital.
The geese are a set of birds that are domesticated by a few Ghanaians. With their ability to adapt to hot climates so far there is a provision of shade for them, geese can withstand any winter. This class of domestic animals have a different range of colours, sizes, and shapes, all of which add to their uniqueness. Some of the breeds of this domesticated animal include the Embden, Huoyan breed, Landes, Kuban, Pilgrim, White Italian, and Pomeranian.
Rabbits are good sources of protein and the meat remain a great source of white meat which is an alternative for many people who do not like red meat. Rabbit farming has become so widely accepted in Ghana that there is an association for its farmers. Rabbit has many breeds including California, but the New Zealand breed seems to be preferred for commercial purposes. This is because of its mothering abilities and the large litters that it produces.
There are different species of fish that can be found in Ghanaian rivers and they include cassava fish, flat sardinella, largehead hairtail, moonfish, red pandora, red snapper, skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, and groupers. Also, we have different valuable demersal fish which include sole, shrimp, cuttlefish, burrito, red fishes (Sparidae), and burros (Pomadasidae).
Importance of domestic animals
In Ghana, different people domesticate animals for various purposes. Some of these reasons include the following:
- To produce meat, milk, and eggs for the domestic market;
- For an effective export purpose;
- Their manure serves to improve soil structure as well as its fertility.
- They also serve as a source of cash income and means of savings accumulation to people.
- They contribute to food supply in rural and urban areas;
- Their production serves as an essential means of exchange, especially among rural households. More so, when they are sold, they tend to contribute to boosting and strengthening rural markets.
- They can also be instrumental when it comes to social functions such as paying bride price, provision of animals for communal feasts and so on.
The relationship between human beings and domestic animals has become mutually beneficial. This is because while some of these domesticated animals have become a source of income and food production to their owners, the owners in turn also bear some costs. These costs include ensuring the safety of the animals from harm and making sure that they are well fed to fatten up and reproduce.
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