Feeding Management of Buffalo
The prominent diet taken by buffaloes is hay and grass. The buffalo eats around 4 to 5 tons of dry grass, also referred to as chara, yearly. The most economical way people prefer is to let their Buffalo graze openly. However, the performance of a buffalo depends upon what they graze throughout the day. Buffalo are ruminant, which means they ferment their food before digestion occurs in their intestines and stomach.
The rumen in a developed buffalo is around a 45-gallon drum with water, bacteria, and feed. The bacteria perform the breakdown of fiber to get energy in the stomach. The digestion occurs after the bacteria wash out the rumen in the intestine. However, as buffalo only consumes grass, the extraction of protein takes place at a very limited scale, so additional nutrients to the feed might let the bacteria extract more nutrients from the food.
All required nutrients for production and growth might be supplied if the buffalos are confined. The buffalo is over 700 pounds and requires consuming food with a high concentration of nutrients to gain faster. The concentration should be maximized to benefit the animal. The supplement consists of protein, minerals, and vitamins recommended for fulfilling the deficiency of the nutrients in buffalos.
Nutrient requirements of Buffalo
To keep your buffalo healthy and fit, you must feed them with food having high nutrient value. Wrong feeding might lead to loss of production, economic loss, or in the worst case, death. However, this can be avoided by knowing the specific needs of the animal, the proper needs of the feeding system, and the right advice before feeding. The requirements for the buffaloes are quite similar to the other milk-yielding cattle. Hence, you will not find any difficulty in getting these foods. So, here we will read about various necessary nutrients which are necessary for your buffalo.
Carbohydrates, fat, starch, and fibers are prominent sources of energy. The cheapest and most important source of energy for buffaloes is fibers in the form of roughage. The phrase “Metabolizable Energy ” is use to determine the feed ratios for the buffaloes; it denotes the amount of energy that is require by the cattle for growth, lactation, and maintenance.
The AGE of feed is the quantity of energy present in the feed while entering the animal. When the food enters, the digestive system of a significant animal’s amount of energy is lost during thermal regulation. The other measurement is Total Digestible Nutrients which is the sum of fat and carbohydrate present in the diet. The SI unit of TDIN is gram or Kg. The energy ratio of the feed might be increase by increasing the amount of fat in the protect form. In this process, the food is transfer to the intestinal tract directly from the rumen.
Minerals are crucial for the body’s functioning. The macro-minerals such as phosphorus and calcium are vital for the milk production process, strong skeleton, and proper functioning of nerve impulses. Phosphorus is a significant mineral that maintains the energy and metabolism of the cattle’s body. For maximum efficiency, you must consider the intake of phosphorus and calcium in the proper ratio. The ratio must be 2:1 as an antagonist relationship exists between these two minerals. Intake of the Salts such as potassium and sodium together with chloride is essential for micro-minerals. However, plenty of minerals are present in water and feed.
Vitamins are necessary for the total proper function of the body. Rumen microbes or animals synthesize a large number of vitamins. Some vitamins, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and D, do not need to be fed separately. The ruminal microbes synthesized vitamin B, and intestinal microbes synthesized vitamin K and vitamin C in the body’s tissues. Buffaloes intake vitamin D directly from the sunlight during grazing. Vitamin E and A are not synthesize in cattle but need to be supplied. Silage, dark green leaves, fresh grass (chare), carrots, and peas are found in Vitamin A.
Water is one of the essential elements for the survival of living beings on earth. Most of the body’s functions, such as milk production, blood plasma, and body temperature control, are determine by the intake of proper water in cattle. The most water-consuming process in animals is thermal regulation. So, The buffaloes intake water from three different mediums, which are:-
- Water in feed
- Drinking water
- Metabolic water (water made by degradation of feed)
Food like hay, straw, cereals, and chara contains very little water, whereas fresh grass and hay might have around 70% water. The requirement of water in a buffalo’s body totally depends on growth, lactation, pregnancy, dry matter, temperature, and humidity.
The water intake in buffaloes is much greater than that of other cattle under the same circumstances. The limitations in water intake might affect the cattle’s growth and milk production capacity. The other seldom problem in buffalo feeding is the salinity of the water. The water consists of 5 g/L salt content that can be give to the buffaloes. It is advise to keep your buffaloes away from the water having high salt quality as it might lead to diarrhea.
Buffalo are diurnal mammals which means they remain active day and night. They spend a significant day grazing and spend nights chewing and digesting the feed they consume throughout the day.
If you own a buffalo for commercial purposes, you must take care of the diet and nutrient value. The milk production capacity of a buffalo depends upon the intake of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc. Most buffalo consume dry grass, chara, etc., which are insufficient to fulfill the nutrient needs.