The horses we see around us today are descended from the wild horse. In some zoos you can see Przewalski horses, which are very similar to the modern horse’s wild ancestor. Around 5500 years ago people started to tame wild horses. At first they were mainly kept for their meat, but people then discovered that horses were also good draught animals. Later people started riding horses too. It was not long before the speed and impressive stature of the horse led to the animals being used in wars.


The domesticated sheep is descended from the wild sheep. A number of different types of this wild sheep live in an area that extends from the Middle East to Asia, as well as in the eastern parts of North America. Starting from the Middle East, domesticated sheep gradually spread out over large parts of the globe. In the Netherlands people started keeping sheep in around 5000 BC. These sheep may have looked something like our (horned) Drenthe heath sheep today.


Chickens originate from warm regions of East Asia and are descended from the red junglefowl. These animals have long been kept by humans for their meat and eggs, and also because they are attractive creatures.
The Netherlands has a substantial number of old breeds, which appear on paintings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. 
When, in the 19th century, people wanted chickens to produce more eggs and meat, almost all of the old Dutch breeds were replaced with more productive foreign breeds and crossbreeds. These crossbreeds are well suited to factory farming.