An Introduction to Buffaloes

River Buffaloes

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Buffaloes are one of the most significant livestock species in the world. More people rely on them for their livelihood than any other form of livestock. To my surprise information on buffaloes on BYH was nonexistent on this platform. So on the good counsel of @Baymule and @Bruce I decided to start a new thread where we can talk about this extremely important animal.
 

Baymule

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I'm so glad that you are starting this thread. That is a very fine looking animal in the picture, it it yours? I have always called them water buffaloes and seen them called that in print, articles and such. I'm looking forward to learning more.

Where are you located and could you please put your general location in your avatar? It is always interesting to know where people are.
 

River Buffaloes

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Evolution of Water Buffaloes

Water buffaloes (bubalus bubalis) are true buffaloes that were domesticated twice from now endangered Asian wild buffaloes (bubalus arnee). They are the largest members of the tribe bovini which contains animals like cattle, Cape Buffaloes, Gaur, Bison, antelopes, goats, sheep etc.

Water buffaloes were first domesticated in South Asia as a triple purpose animals around five thousand years ago. This line is now what is called either River Buffaloes or Riverine Buffaloes. Unlike taurine cattle they have evolved
to thrive on rough quality pasture, muggy tropical wet conditions. They can also thrive in dry tropical conditions as long as they have access to water to rest in. They are also much more conducive to stall feeding than cattles. They are also very adaptable and can live in diverse climates.

Buffalo Milk

Buffalo milk is very flavorful and nutritious. It contains two to three times more fat than most cow breeds ( 7.2-12.5% ), 60% more calcium than cows milk and significantly less lactose and cholesterol than cows milk. This milk is ideal for making many kinds of milk products like yoghurt, ghee, butter, cheese, gelato etc. They play a major role in the dairy industries of countries like India and Pakistan.

Buffalo Meat

Buffaloes grow faster than cows and in same amount of feed they can obtain more mass than cattle. Buffalo meat, called carabeef, is low in cholesterol than beef, but it's not well marbled like beef.

Buffaloes as beasts of burden

Males of most buffalo breeds are suitable for heavy work, but they are slower than oxen and they tend to heat up more quickly because they have 90% less sweat glands than cattle. On road they are usually worked from evening to morning or under cloudy conditions. They are more suitable than oxen for tilling rice fields as they have strong and thick feet and they don't ever get stuck in the mud.

Buffalo Physic

River buffaloes are bulky animals, with plain breeds like Jafarabadi being bulkier than those found in mountainous regions like Azi Kheli. They are the largest members of the tribe bovini.

Color

Generally they tend to be black in color with a white tail end. White patches on forehead, white socks and white spots in extremities are not uncommon (I have one like that, her last year calf is in my Avatar). In some individuals black coloration is replaced by a Golden/blonde color. In some breeds like Nili Ravi the white patches are desired in some like Murrah it is a disqualification. Golden/Blond color is also more common in some breeds like Azi Kheli and less common or desired in others. Brown bovine eyes are most common in buffaloes, but is some breeds like Nili Ravi walled eyes are desired and brown eyes are a disqualification, in Murrah it's just the opposite. Greyish pink coloration is rare, but is common is some breeds like Surati.

Horns

Horns differ widely from breed to breed from small curved ring like horns of Murrah to long sword like horns of Pandharpuri, to half curved sickle shaped horns of Surati.

Temperament

Buffaloes were domesticated to live in close proximity to humans and they tend to be very calm and docile animals and are gentle with their owners. They bond very easily and deeply with their owners as well as other farm animals, but can turn feral and return to wild if human contact is minimal. Unlike cattle they graze in a tightly packed formation with constantly talking to each other. They are very good for mob grazing practice.

Buffaloes have a complex pecking order with a strong social hierarchy. Fights among individuals from different herds are common. If both individuals have dominant personality it may last for hours, but if one is timid and backs off it may end before starting. They are full of personality, every individual is a little different. They are curious and inquisitive. They are intelligent, a bit on the mischievous side, but also very sensitive, and have a very good line in 'no'. If mistreated or unhappy or unfed they usually refuse to co-operate instead of attacking for example 'I will not let the calf nurse', 'I will not let the milk down', 'I will just lay down'. They can be stubborn, but always happy to see their owners.


Spread

River Buffaloes were domesticated in South Asia, that is India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they are also kept in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil and Caribbean.

River Buffaloes were introduced to the Middle East through trade between Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia (Sumerians). There are many theories about how they came to Europe. One theory is that they were taken to Greece by Alexander's soldiers who were returning after campaigning in Iran, India or Egypt. Second theory is that they were introduced to Italy by Romans from Egypt. Third theory is that they brought to Italy by Crusaders who were returning from Middle East.

Surati buffaloes
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Pic by central cattle breeding farm Dhamrod

Murrah

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Nili Ravi (notice the white markings and walled eyes)

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Jafarabadi

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Azi Kheli
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Pandharpuri

images (81).jpeg
 
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River Buffaloes

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I'm so glad that you are starting this thread. That is a very fine looking animal in the picture, it it yours? I have always called them water buffaloes and seen them called that in print, articles and such. I'm looking forward to learning more.

Where are you located and could you please put your general location in your avatar? It is always interesting to know where people are.
Can you please proof read this for me? English is not my first language. I also faced a lot of problems while typing and I was unable to load photographs.
 

River Buffaloes

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Your English is excellent, you could teach it!

The horns on the Pandharpuri are truely impressive!

Thank you.

Horns are very important part in the evaluation of the native breeds. A broken horn or wrong horns may cut the price in half. If we disbud the horns of an animal it will not be registered in the breed directory. A good deal of attention is placed on horns by breeders. Only foreign breeds like Jersey and Holstein-Frisians are frequently dehorned. Infact as a child when I first saw a hornless cow I was puzzled and thought "what an ugly cow!!!"

Jhalwari goat
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Gaddi goat
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Pashmina goat
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Kankarej cows
images (80).jpeg
 

Baymule

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Indeed, as @Bruce said, your English is excellent. I want to thank you for teaching us about buffaloes and the different breeds. This is wonderful.

The goat pictures you posted are equally impressive. I love learning about livestock in different countries.

Here in the southern part of the USA is a breed of cattle called Brahma. Cattle were imported from India to make the breed because of their abilities to live and thrive in hot climates. I don’t know what breeds were used to make the Brahma breed, I’ll have to research that.
 

River Buffaloes

Loving the herd life
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Currently in New Delhi, India, originally Bihar
Indeed, as @Bruce said, your English is excellent. I want to thank you for teaching us about buffaloes and the different breeds. This is wonderful.

The goat pictures you posted are equally impressive. I love learning about livestock in different countries.

Here in the southern part of the USA is a breed of cattle called Brahma. Cattle were imported from India to make the breed because of their abilities to live and thrive in hot climates. I don’t know what breeds were used to make the Brahma breed, I’ll have to research that.
Thank you, that post covered only River Buffaloes. I still have to write about the Swamp Buffaloes. I am not feeling well, I think I got infected from Covid19 Virus. I am coughing, my body is aching and my nose is choked. If I get well by afternoon I will write, if not I will cheat and copy paste from "the coffee thread".

Yes, Brahmas are beautiful animals, like buffaloes they are also robust animals like buffaloes with resistance to parasites like tick, but as I said, our experience with cows is not good. Indigenous cattle breeds are a different topic altogether.

I want to focus on buffaloes as I see that buffaloes are being neglected. They are a superior livestock species that still have to reach its full potential.
 

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