Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Animal Husbandry)

Extensive, broad, in-depth professional education for a sustainable career working with livestock and animals reared for produce. Work in farm or land management, education, research, marketing or other support services.

Course Code: VAG053
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Aim for a Future Working with Farm Animals   

This course provides a solid foundation for people who wish to work with livestock and other animals which are bred and looked after for produce.

Learn about best practices for animal welfare and productivity systems through gaining an in-depth knowledge of animals from anatomy through to behaviour. Discover how to maintain farmland through proper management of animals.  

Develop the skills to be successful in the animal husbandry industry

You can direct your studies to your current area of expertise, or choose a new direction for yourself.  You can also make your studies as focused or as broad as you need it to be.

This program is different to many others, because it goes well beyond just teaching you basic animal husbandry skills, but offers a solid foundation of the necessary science and agricultural industry background.  It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with a variety of industry professionals, while exploring the nature, scope and infinite possibilities of this diverse field of agriculture.

For ongoing success, you need to become "connected".  This networking within the industry will provide the basis to remain "connected", so that you can evolve and adapt to changes as your career moves forward.

This can be established with the guidance from your program tutors who are are skilled professionals, who are experts in individual subject areas. The combination of their qualifications and many years of actual practical experience, will benefit you greatly as you work through the program.  

If you are interested in working in agriculture at a technician or management level; in positions such as a farm manager, technical representatives, trainers or consultants - this is a great program for you.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Animal Husbandry).
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Farm Management BAG104
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Animal Breeding BAG301
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 40 modules.
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Business Studies BBS101
 Carpentry BSS100
 Dog Care BAG105
 Engineering I - Machinery & Equipment BSC105
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Instructional Skills BGN101
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Research Project I BGN102
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Workplace Health & Safety VBS103
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Engineering II - Engineering Applications BSC205
 Genetics BSC207
 Goat Production BAG223
 Horse Care II BAG204
 Irrigation -- Agricultural Irrigation BAG213
 Mariculture - Marine Aquaculture BAG220
 Microbiology BSC209
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Pigs BAG209
 Poultry BAG208
 Research Project II BGN201
 Sheep BAG210
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Workshop II BGN203
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Agronomy BAG306
 Horse Care III BAG302
 Organic Farming BAG305

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Animal Husbandry) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What is the Best Production Method?

The type of system chosen by a farmer may be influenced by several factors, including:

Availability of land

If the amount of land is limited, it may be necessary to use an intensive production method (eg. lot feeding), if the farm is to operate on a financially viable scale.

Natural resources

Natural resource factors include, the quality of land, nature of climate, water and other resources. Certain conditions may be needed to support a particular type of animal.

Desire to be able to expand in the future

Some farmers may have little desire or need for expansion; but sometimes expansion is essential to remain economically competitive.

Available labour

Some systems require more labour. It takes manpower to mend fences, muster stock, provide supplementary feeding or watering, or to move stock about; so by minimising these tasks, the labour required to manage the farm is also minimised.


The most common system for most farm animals in Australia has traditionally been grazing.

Grazing in Paddocks

Traditional farms are divided into paddocks. Paddocks may be used any of the following ways:

  • Animals are left in the same paddock for a year or longer (ie. continuous grazing). Stock may then be mustered (rounded up) as required (eg. for marking, veterinary treatments, shearing or selling).

  • Set stocking leaves animals in the same paddock throughout the better part of the year, but not all year. It aims to minimise moving stock (and causing any stress), while providing the best feed. If and when pasture declines, the stock may be moved. This system is only appropriate on fertile sites.

  • Grazing animals are rotated between paddocks (ie. rotational grazing), usually every week or so. Paddocks are commonly rested for up to 5 weeks before grazing again. This system is particularly appropriate for fertile pastures, such as irrigated lucerne on a dairy farm.

  • Cell grazing (ie. time controlled grazing), places animals on a pasture for an "optimum" time period, designed to achieve the best benefit to the animal, and the optimum productivity from the pasture. It is similar to rotational grazing, but the period it is grazed for will depend upon various factors such as rate of pasture growth and the age and type of animal.

  • Deferred grazing involves hand feeding stock in a paddock for about six weeks after rain, in order to allow the pasture to develop more quickly.

Strip Grazing
Strip grazing is a method used by farmers to maximize the effect of available pasture. In some cases this may be a specifically planted crop, such as a fast growing broad leaf crop (such as Speed feed) or it may be simply rationing pasture during times of drought or when food is scarce.

An electric fence is used to cordon off a certain amount of the pasture from the animals grazing. This allows the farmer to move the strip to be grazed each day or when necessary.

Strip grazing saves crops from trampling, this is especially so in the case of a dairy herd which will graze heavily immediately after milking and then resort to laying around chewing its cud and more leisurely feeding. If allowed access to the entire crop much of it would be wasted.

During times of drought, water becomes scarce, and fresh green feed also becomes less available. This can be the case even upon irrigated farms which are often subjected to water rationing along with the rest of the community. In some types of farming green feed is essential for quantity and quality of produce. Dairying is a classic example, the farmer may provide grain or molasses to compensate for lack of food available but some green fodder is paramount to milk production. Hungry cows will simply dry up and stop producing milk.

Free Range
Free range is widely used in districts where vast areas of land are available. The animals are allowed to roam the site with little or no supervision by farmers. Some control is obtained by way of fencing.

The land area must be large enough to stock the number of animals and must also be self sufficient in terms of water and feed. The carrying capacity should not be exceeded. The carrying capacity of a pasture refers to the number of animals which can be grazed on the pasture during the grazing season.
When feed is overgrazed by the animals they should move onto another area, either within the fenced zone or to another fenced area.

Hoofed animals and some fowl species are commonly free ranged. Birds however may need to be confined some way to prevent flight. In this case, or for flightless birds, care should be taken against predators.

Large Scale/Open Range Grazing
Farming properties in some arid or semi arid areas are extremely large, measured in terms of square kilometres or miles, rather than acres or hectares. It is often uneconomical to fence such properties into paddocks.
Animals are usually stocked at low rates (ie. relatively few animals per unit area), and animal husbandry operations are kept to a minimum. Livestock may be rounded up (ie. mustered), periodically (maybe annually), for veterinary treatments, marking or selling.

Mustering has traditionally been done on horseback (which is still widely used), though motorised vehicles and even aircraft are now being increasingly used to aid mustering on large properties.

Grazing Modifications
If a farm has insufficient pasture to meet the needs of its animals, any of the following techniques may be used as a supplement to grazing:

Supplementary feeding
Animals may need supplementary feeding especially in times of drought or flood. They placed into a confined holding paddock may also required additional feeding.

In some areas, animals may be brought under cover (eg. in a barn) over winter. This practice is more common in cold climates (eg. northern Europe). Animals which are particularly valuable may be stabled during colder (or wet) weather.

When the available land is either too small for the head population of the animals, or when drought or flood occur, it may be necessary to consider agistment. Stock is taken to other properties where feed is available. Agistment is only used when other possibilities become non viable; given the cost involved, and the stress that transportation can cause animals.



Working with Animals in the Future

You can’t predict where the jobs of the future will be. Today’s world is simply changing so fast. Technological, economic and cultural change is reshaping the workplace every year.

There will however always be animals in the world and people will continue to work with animals; as pets, as farm animals, and as wildlife. The way in which we work with animals may well change; but people who have knowledge and skills that relate to working with animals should continue to find work.

How then Do You Forge a Career in an Unpredictable world?

Start by developing a good foundation, then become a part of change rather than a victim of change.

  • The pet industry is continually reinventing itself, with new services and products.

  • Advancements in agriculture are changing the way we farm animals

  • Cultural changes, such as attitudes to animal welfare, are changing how we interact with animals

  • Environmental and conservation pressures are changing the way we manage wildlife.

Some people are well connected with industry and society at large; and sensitive to change. They become conscious of business or career opportunities before others; and if they have the right attitude and capabilities, they take advantage of the opportunities they see.

If you want a sustainable career working with animals (or anything else for that matter), you should try and place yourself in that category.

To develop and improve your opportunities, you need to work on all of the following things. Start with education; but don’t expect education alone to guarantee a sustainable career. Those days are long gone!


Learning anything about animals provides a foundation for continued, life long learning.
Learning can come from doing formal courses or informal in house training within your job, training with an external agency, taking a course and so on.  If you understand their biology, psychology and husbandry; you will be able to communicate with colleagues and comprehend developments in industry as you progress through our career. Without a foundation, everything can be harder to understand; and opportunities in the future might go unnoticed.

Build up contacts in industry. Success often comes from not just what you know but also who you know; just as much as what you know.

Join organisations, volunteering to get relevant experience with animals. Attend meetings, seminars, conferences, and shows. Immerse yourself in any relevant social media groups that deal with animals. Do all these things; but balance them. Too much of one thing and neglect of others, does not work. Other things matter too!

This course provides the foundation you need for a lifelong and sustainable career or business with animals.


Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert.
For several years, Cheryl managed the distance education courses for Warwickshire College (a large UK government institution), out of their Moreton Morrell campus. In more recent years, she has co authored several books including titles on Horse Care, Dog Care and Poultry. Along with this solid background in edication, she brings a wealth of practical experience, having held positions including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary 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.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Adriana Fraser


Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

Sarah Pirecki

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

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