Water Buffalo are most often raised primarily for dairy. Approximately 15% of the worlds milk supply comes from Water Buffalo. Believed to have originated in Asia, Water Buffalo were used for milk, meat and draught power. They have since been introduced to Australia, Africa, Europe and North America.
What we often call the North American Buffalo are really Bison, which are more closely related to cattle than to Asian Water Buffalo
In North America the feed, housing and fencing needed for Water Buffalo is similar as that for cattle. Attributed to being domesticated for over 3000 years Water Buffalo generally have a docile temperament although some can be aggressive. They are alert to strangers and have personalities unlike cattle. Not for the inexperienced, Water Buffalo should be raised by those with some expertise.
Weight: 400-900kg (880-2,000lbs)
Life Span: 15-25 years
World Population: 168-170 million
Water Buffalo have fewer health concerns than cattle and are believed to be less susceptible to illness and disease that affect cattle in Canada. Water Buffalo have the ability to adapt to various climate conditions. They can graze lower quality or wet pastures and thrive in those conditions unlike many cattle.
Water Buffalo have a gestation period of 10.5-11 months. Multiple births are rare. Water Buffalo calves are very hearty at birth and there are very low instances of calving problems. Males become sexually mature at approximately 24-36 months of age. Females, slightly younger depending on genetics and rearing conditions. Domestic Water Buffalo can calve once every 12-16 months under good management systems.
The breed of buffalo that we raise are known as Mediterranean Buffalo
Water Buffalo do enjoy a swim or a role in the mud. It helps to keep them cool in the summer and to regulate their body temperature. A dirty Water Buffalo is a happy Water Buffalo (and the mud also aids in protecting the skin from biting insects and sun exposure)