An Introduction to Buffaloes

Bruce

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There are actually people that buy pasturized, homoginized, 2% milk (cow) in the store and make "mozzarella" at home with it and I am nearly certain that that is not "real mozzarella" even though it may still taste good.
More than likely it tastes good to those of us who are accustomed to low fat cow milk mozzarella. I suspect River Buffaloes would taste it and have a different opinion. Kind of like I grew up on Log Cabin "maple syrup", then I moved to Vermont after college. If one has never had real maple syrup made from nothing but the sap of maple trees they have NO idea what maple syrup tastes like.

I thought only East Asians were lactose intolerant.
Nope. DW's mother is 100% Swiss (her parents individually immigrated from Switzerland) her father is English (and environs I suspect) though generations in the USA. DW is lactose intolerant.

Europeans did them no favors by showing up and introducing them to alcohol.
And smallpox and a lot of other things (like dare I say Europeans).

I would argue that Buffaloes can contribute more to a homestead than a Llama or an Alpaca, because those distant relatives of camels are kept extensively in the Andes. Ever tried herding Llamas in the mountains of Peru? Nothing but dramas these Llamas.
I suppose it depends in the "product" one wants. Alpacas are raised for their fiber. llamas for fiber, meat and pack animals. I don't guess one could make a very nice pair of socks from a river buffalo ;)

several cars, a boat...
And their boat may be larger than the average home in the USA.
 

River Buffaloes

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For not researching you have quite the impressive understanding of this little pocket of the world. Where I am is actually pretty much in a bowl with mountain ranges all the way around. We DO actually get earthquakes, but they are fairly mild and not super often. We also get the occasional tornado but they typically follow the major roads as they don't like hills so they hit the roads and just kind of bounce back and forth across the road as they travel.

Some of those spots on my farm are actually too steep to even take the tractor on, which is part of why I want the sheep. The horses don't like those steep places so they get overgrown, but I think I can pen the sheep into a fairly small area at a time and let them graze it all the way down and kill what they can, then re-seed with grass seed and move the sheep to a different place. After a few times of doing that they should have killed out most of the non-grass stuff. I would go behind them and finish cleaning up anything they leave in each patch, but at least I wouldn't have to strip it ALL down to the ground by hand like I would have to without the sheep.

You see, I didn't know you get earthquakes in Virginia. Being so close to the Himalayas we get some bad earthquakes, I mean 7+ ones.

I did note that the land is not all that flat the first time I saw the pics. We have a saying "the land is never wrong, the farmer is wrong". You are correct large animals like horses tend to avoid uneven grounds for obvious reasons. You may also have noted that mountain breeds tend to be smaller than those of the plains.

I have zero experience with sheep as may have noticed that my area is not particularly suitable for sheep rearing. Keeping sheep is also a caste based occupation, the caste who herd sheep is nomadic, they come to our area during summer and quickly leave this region before the onset of monsoon. They move around on foot with hundreds if not thousands of sheep in each herd.
 

Kusanar

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You see, I didn't know you get earthquakes in Virginia. Being so close to the Himalayas we get some bad earthquakes, I mean 7+ ones.

I did note that the land is not all that flat the first time I saw the pics. We have a saying "the land is never wrong, the farmer is wrong". You are correct large animals like horses tend to avoid uneven grounds for obvious reasons. You may also have noted that mountain breeds tend to be smaller than those of the plains.

I have zero experience with sheep as may have noticed that my area is not particularly suitable for sheep rearing. Keeping sheep is also a caste based occupation, the caste who herd sheep is nomadic, they come to our area during summer and quickly leave this region before the onset of monsoon. They move around on foot with hundreds if not thousands of sheep in each herd.
The sheep I want are Jacob Sheep which are a primitive breed (meaning that they are still built very much like a wild sheep without humans messing them up too much) with 2-6 horns. They are also more like goats in that they browse more than graze (they eat bushes and stuff as much if not more than grass). I'm just looking for 3 or so females and a male to start with. In my area you can run I think 6 sheep to an acre and need 2 acres for each horse so my 3 horses take 6 acres and then I have up to 5 acres for the sheep (or up to 30 sheep max).

My horses do pretty good on the hilly land they are on, but part of the land is something like 4 feet up over a span of about 2 feet, so they don't go on that part but I think the sheep will if they are fenced over there.
 

River Buffaloes

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The sheep I want are Jacob Sheep which are a primitive breed (meaning that they are still built very much like a wild sheep without humans messing them up too much) with 2-6 horns. They are also more like goats in that they browse more than graze (they eat bushes and stuff as much if not more than grass). I'm just looking for 3 or so females and a male to start with. In my area you can run I think 6 sheep to an acre and need 2 acres for each horse so my 3 horses take 6 acres and then I have up to 5 acres for the sheep (or up to 30 sheep max).

My horses do pretty good on the hilly land they are on, but part of the land is something like 4 feet up over a span of about 2 feet, so they don't go on that part but I think the sheep will if they are fenced over there.
So I looked up the Jakob sheep and for someone who has never seen an animal with more than two horns it was truly a bizzare thing to see. They look like they can provide some meat.
 

Kusanar

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So I looked up the Jakob sheep and for someone who has never seen an animal with more than two horns it was truly a bizzare thing to see. They look like they can provide some meat.
They are freaky looking things (part of why I like them lol), they are sometimes used for meat, but they aren't a breed that was developed for meat. The meat breeds will hit over 100 lbs at 4 months old, a mature Jacob Sheep isn't much more than 100 lbs. So, they can be butchered for meat, but they aren't as efficient as the meat breeds. But, they give birth easier than a lot of the meat breeds because of the more natural slope to the hind end.

I may actually milk mine some, not as a full on dairy breed, but, if they are in milk I may steal a cup or 2 here and there for fresh drinking milk.
 

Baymule

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@Kusanar you can build swales on your slopes to catch rain run off and retain the rain for your pastures. We are on a slope too, The front of our property to the house drops 10 feet, then goes to a gulley that cuts behind the horse barn, and drops even further. We had to haul in dirt to level up the horse barn. We have several swales on our property that was built in the 1930's by the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps. There are swales all around here, built by the CCC. plus they planted trees and improved the lands. Anyway, swales do a lot to help the land. We have made swales behind the horse barn with wood chips that were the result of having clearing done by a forestry mulcher. I sowed grass seed in early spring and have a decent stand now. I am letting one horse graze it a few hours a day for now.

It looks like you have good grass on your land, you can improve it by sowing clover. Clover will fix nitrogen in the root nodules, making it available to the other grasses. If you graze the sheep on clovers, provide baking soda free choice to keep them from bloating and limit their grazing at first to give them time to adjust to it. I also provide dolomite lime to my sheep, the magnesium in it helps to prevent grass tetany.
 

Kusanar

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@Kusanar you can build swales on your slopes to catch rain run off and retain the rain for your pastures. We are on a slope too, The front of our property to the house drops 10 feet, then goes to a gulley that cuts behind the horse barn, and drops even further. We had to haul in dirt to level up the horse barn. We have several swales on our property that was built in the 1930's by the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps. There are swales all around here, built by the CCC. plus they planted trees and improved the lands. Anyway, swales do a lot to help the land. We have made swales behind the horse barn with wood chips that were the result of having clearing done by a forestry mulcher. I sowed grass seed in early spring and have a decent stand now. I am letting one horse graze it a few hours a day for now.

It looks like you have good grass on your land, you can improve it by sowing clover. Clover will fix nitrogen in the root nodules, making it available to the other grasses. If you graze the sheep on clovers, provide baking soda free choice to keep them from bloating and limit their grazing at first to give them time to adjust to it. I also provide dolomite lime to my sheep, the magnesium in it helps to prevent grass tetany.
It's actually funny, water is one thing my farm does not lack. Unless you are at the very top of the hill, you tend to hit water when digging post holes. There is a spring down in the bottom that we dug a pond below and it filled in about 6 months, it's about 10 feet deep in the middle and a good 20-30 feet across if not bigger (I'm not good at estimating distances) it is actually out of it's banks to the point that it has crossed a fence line and is now almost as big on the neighbors side as it is on ours (his cows love being able to go wallow on hot days) and it is actually about 2 feet deep where it crosses the fence...

It's also freaky, before we moved the horses, we had 2 of them (same ones I have now) in a paddock with a 100 gallon water tub, I filled the tub every other day and it was nearly empty when I filled it. Now, I have those same 2 plus a mini with 2 100 gallon tubs and a 50 (that they just play in, they won't drink out of that one) and I fill the water tubs every 2 weeks or so. I assume because the grass has so much water in it that they don't need to drink much.
 

Baymule

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Swales also help to stop erosion, which is the major reason they were built all over the place. In the early 1930's erosion was a problem, as most people at that time did not understand how to stop it.

I wish I had grass like yours! One day........ LOL
 

Kusanar

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Swales also help to stop erosion, which is the major reason they were built all over the place. In the early 1930's erosion was a problem, as most people at that time did not understand how to stop it.

I wish I had grass like yours! One day........ LOL
I'll have to go get some pictures of the place from ground level. One good thing about horses is that they don't like walking straight down steep hills so they kind of tack back and forth across it and gradually create terraces out of their walking paths. There is only one area that they have muddied up enough that it could errode and that's the steep hill going down to the water tubs but once the rest of the fencing is up, the tanks will be moved to a better place and put on gravel to keep the mud around them down.

One of my horses came off the hill with no tail the other day, so my dad and I were walking the fences seeing if we could figure out where he had left it (never did find it) and yes, the field is weedy and the weeds are really high, but, the grass is also knee high over a patch that is probably around an acre, the horses simply haven't felt like walking over there to eat it yet because it's the furthest point from the water, so they will have that to eat still before I have to start feeding hay at all. We also have a lot of cool season grass that grows slowly all winter so they graze all but about a month of winter (with hay supplimentation of course) so I'm only feeding 6-8 regular 40-50 lb square bales a week to 2 standard horses and a mini, they get more if it's going to be super cold just because I want to make sure they have enough to ferment and keep warm, but if it's in the 40's or warmer they are perfectly content. This year they will actually have shelter which they didn't have the last 2 winters so they will stay warm easier.
 

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