water buffalo

The water buffalo is a large bovine animal that is
used as a domestic livestock in the South of Asia.
There are more then 100 million of them living
in India. These are large and strong animals:
A male water buffalo can weight more then a ton.
The wild Buffalo is the ancestor, selectiv breeding
since 3000 B.C. have resulted in an animal
that provides the population with meat, milk and
is also used as a draft animal.

A waterbuffaloo waits in the shadow of an acacia tree to escape the heat of the day . A waterbuffaloo doesn't run away or tries to escape..

water buffalo as a draft animal

This animal is mostly used to plow the paddy
fields: Before the planting of the rice the
fields are inundated, fertilizer is added and
the soft mud is ploughed by a span of two water
buffaloos. After some days a group of mostly
female farmers work together and plant the fields
with rice seedlings in rows, separated by
3 decimeter space. After the harvest the rice is put
on a cart, and brought to the village pulled
by a span of water buffaloos.

water buffalo as a dairy animal

Water buffaloes produce about 50 miljon tons
of milk yearly, thats about 7% of the total world
milk production. That milk contains more fat and
protein then cows milk.
It is used to make butter, and cheese mozzarella.
Indian butter is liquid and is called ghee.
By improving milk production by selectiv breeding
A waterbuffalo can give about 4000 liter high
quality milk yearly.
The milk machine used for cows is the same used
for water buffalo's without adaptation.

water buffalo as a meat provider

Young water buffaloes can give meat at compatative
costs, and will grow about 800 grams/day.
Waterbuffalo have more meat tissue and less fat
tissue then other cattle.

water buffalo and its diet

The digestion of waterbuffalo is the same as
that of a cow. But a water buffalo is better
capable of digestion plants that contain lignin.
So rice straw can be eaten by water buffaloes.
Grass forms the greatest part of the diet but
also waterplants and herbs.

buffalo boys

Water buffaloes are famous for the friendship between
man and buffalo. In India, Vietnam and Thailand, the
water buffalo is often dedicated to a kid, a buffalo
boy. The water buffalo and the boy often have a
livelong friendship. The boy milks the cow and uses
it as a draft animal. He collect the dung and provided
the food. It is known that a waterbuffalo
will defend its boy against a tiger.
If an animal dies then incense is burnt and a ceremony
is offered.

Waterbuffalo likes to escape the heat of the
day in a lake, they are good swimmers too.
This herd is brought together to give the
bull a chance for mating.

These cowboys take a bath together with there buffaloos.

water buffalo and snakes

A water buffalo has a very useful habit:
it kills a snake when it notice one.
Just by standing on it, the snake is killed.
Water buffaloes are not sensitiv for snake
poison, although a cobra is an exception.

history of water buffalo

The first evidence about domesticated water
baffaloes can be found 2500 B.C. in Mesopotomia
and from they have probably spread to the
Indus valley. From there they spread to
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana in India.
In China evidence of domesticated water buffalo
is found on vessels belonging to the Shang-dynasty:
these people were living during the second
millennium B.C. along the river of the Yangtze.

Waterbuffaloo provides the poorest people of
a small income, here by drying and selling the dung.

Waterbuffalo and cow go happy together, Jaipur, India.

water buffalo and other animals on the farm

Water buffalo's are most compatible with cows (beef or dairy). A cow and a waterbuffalo can have an argument and both will survive the conflict. But smaller animals like sheep and goats do not seem to be able to socialize nor hold their own with the much larger waterbuffalo's and often get hurt in the process. Also goats will injure a waterbuffalo with theire horns.

The waterbuffalo on an old illustration from 1925