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Qualification - Associate Diploma in Animal Husbandry

Course CodeVAG026
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma
Make Yourself a Career working with Animals 
  • High level, practical and professional training
  • Choose your own areas to specialize in
Note that each module in the Associate Diploma in Animal Husbandry is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Associate Diploma in Animal Husbandry.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Animal Biology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Research Project I BGN102
 Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 10 of the following 24 modules.
 Farm Management BAG104
 Horse Management I BAG102
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Ornithology BEN102
 Pet Care (Different Types Of Pets) AAG100
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Disease BAG219
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Beef Cattle Management BAG206
 Dairy Cattle Management BAG205
 Equine Behaviour BAG216
 Fish Farming & Aquaculture BAG211
 Herpetology BEN209
 Horse Management II BAG204
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Pig Husbandry BAG209
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep Husbandry BAG210
 Wildlife Conservation BEN206
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Zoo Keeping BEN208
 Breeding Animals BAG301
 Horse Management III BAG302

Note that each module in the Qualification - Associate Diploma in Animal Husbandry is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Do You Understand How Animals Communicate?
Communication among animals differs to that of humans because they cannot “speak”. Instead, animals will transmit their information by elaborating specific sounds, body postures, facial expressions, ritual displays, auditory outbursts, bioluminescence, scent marking, chemoreception and/or tactile cues. 
  • Although we might be talking about the same animal, some of their “dialects” differ from each other depending on the region.
  • Some animals have evolved new abilities to communicate (whether it’s an acquired physical appearance or sound variations). This is mainly due to environmental changes, such as pollution, which have been found to interfere with their natural means of expression. 
Examples of different ways animals communicate are indicated below:
Visual communication is effective in the animal kingdom. Humans convey signals through facial expressions and body language. Visual information may be expressed may be expressed through:
  1. Physical appearance – for example: yellow and black markings to signify a warning, or trying to appear larger to dissuade a challenger.
  2. Behavioural display – For example: courtship dance, defence of territory. 
    • Peacocks use elaborate tail displays for attracting the female – courtship rituals.
    • Cobras inflate their hood as a defence mechanism when threatened. 
    • Deer flick up their tails to show alarm.
    • Gorillas stick their tongues out as an indication of anger.
    • Whales breach as a warning of danger, to show dominance or as a courtship behaviour.
    • Dogs wag their tail as an indicative of pleasure; pull their ears back when fearful.
    • Roosters expand their wings and move forward in a threatening way.
    • Cats arch their back and lift the hair on their backs to prepare for an attack if threatened.
    • Goannas stand up tall with their mouth open to frighten off an aggressor.
    • Cobras puff up their hood when threatened.
Sound is a highly effective means of communication since it can pass through vegetation and around objects. It can also be sent over wide areas or territories. Unlike scents, sounds quickly disappear after the signal has been transmitted. It is thought that the majority of animal communication is transmitted using sounds, however habitat also places a role in usage. For instance, sounds which are made close to ground level are more readily absorbed whereas those made from trees or hillsides travel further.
  • Elephants use their trunks for long distance sound calls.
  • Whales use song-like sounds to communicate underwater.
  • Wolves howl sounds to call to other wolves from the same pack.
  • Dogs snarl to express anger and howl to regroup the pack.
  • Kangaroos thump their back legs as a warning for danger.
Many animals and insects use touch as a means of communication. Sometimes the message is transmitted through vibrations such as a male spider vibrating the web of a female to lure her into mating.   
  • Dogs lick to bond, to clean or to stimulate a specific reaction.
  • Baboons touch as a form of affection, greeting and for grooming.
  • Elephants entwine their trunks to show affection.
  • Horses kicking to prove dominance; rub noses as a form of affection.
  • Giraffes press their necks together as a way to confirm mutual attraction (and when fighting).
  • Swans entwine their necks to fight or to confirm mutual bonding with the opposite sex.
  • Kangaroos stand up tall with hands ready to grasp and attack a predator.
Smells are often used to define territory borders or to indicate that an animal has passed through a territory e.g. a dog urinating outside its usual territory. Pheromones are a special type of chemical detected by olfactory receptors. They may be divided into two types:
  1. Primary pheromones - these cause long term responses in the animal that detects them.
  2. Releaser pheromones - these cause an immediate response in the animal that detects them.
    • Cats rub against objects or other animals as a way of scent marking.
    • Skunks expel smell to dissuade predators.
    • Wolves release pheromones to attract the opposite sex.
You can study all of the modules listed above as stand alone courses.  But other courses that may also interest you include -

Meet some of our academics

Dr Robert BrowneZoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.
Dr. Gareth PearceVeterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation. Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyComparative Animal Psychology. This is an excellent reference for anyone interested in understanding animals better; students, animal owners and anyone who works with animals.
Horse CareIf you're starting a career in the equine industry, this text is perfect to accompany your study notes! If you're a new horse owner keen to develop or solidify your knowledge of horse care techniques, this book will guide you through basic anatomy and physiology; feed and nutrition;, health management and shoeing; handling techniques and the use of equipment. Learn about caring for horses kept at grass or effectively care for the stabled horse. With ten chapters full of expert advice which is easy to read and follow you can be a confident horse owner! 111 pages
Animal HealthA book for anyone interested in animal health, from pet owners to farmers. Contents cover understanding health issues, disease and injury prevention, inspecting animals, differential diagnosis and common illnesses. Animals can suffer from injury, poisoning, hereditary conditions, nutritional problems and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. 77 pages.
Caring for DogsThis book is jam packed full of practical advice and up to the minute information every dog owner needs! You will explore fundamentals of nutrition and health; parasites and illness; breeds and reproduction; training and behaviour management! Understand how your dog thinks and what your dog wants you to know. Try techniques to overcome behaviour problems! This is a book for dog owners, students and anyone interested in working with dogs. 79 pages