Buffalo

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by moonwolf, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone here have experience actually with raising buffalo, or perhaps beefalo??

    Nearby is a long established small herd that is kept on rough pasture. They sure eat down close it seems, and the herd is rotated often between 2 or 3 areas. The herd has mixed bulls, cows, and have seen lovely calves every spring. It's a real joy to see them. I will walk or ride bike on the dirt road and stop to watch and they all pee in unison. Once a calf was on the road side of the fence and it stayed close to the protective cow on the other side. I informed the neighbor, but never did see when he came around to gather up the calf back to it's cow.
    As social group creatures, I find them fascinating, though I know they are nearly wild, though docile in that area where they've been raised and propagate for years. A secion of that land is about what 40 buffalo pasture. The fence is normal highway cattle fencing with 6' posts having one barb wire strand about a foot above the 5' wire fence. I know they could stampede out of there, which is known. They never have yet.
     
  2. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We have a buffalo ranch down the road that we have to pass several times a day. He has less secure fencing for the buffalo than we have for our horses, sheep, or goats. I've seen them loose more times than I can count, and a neighbors horse was gored by one. It is pretty cool though when he drives them down the road to another pasture. My kids were late for school because of it one day, and it was kind of fun for them to give stampeding buffalo as an excuse for tardiness.
     

  3. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    They are interesting creatures but it's unwise to have them without proper fencing and the knowledge to handle them. I've worked with them in the past and found them to be very different to handle than cattle although if you were to compare them with a breed, Longhorns would be the closest I could think of. They tend to rely on instinct. My daughter has worked closer with them than I have in the sense that she spent the summer training a heifer for riding. She was able to complete her task but the buffalo will never meet the owner's goals, they tend to bond with a single person, if they bond at all and because they encounter a human they'll accept, doesn't mean that they'll accept humans in general.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    A few more questions to those who currently have 'hands on' experience with raising buffalo:

    -what is the value of buffalo beef and how do you market it?

    -I see all those buffalo turds (chips) piled. It seems that could be a possible source of fuel to burn in an outside wood burning furnace?

    -Beefalo??? This obviously is cross between which breed cattle and buffalo? I would assume the breeding is done by AI.

    -what other feed supplement do buffalo require besides pasture?
     
  5. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Buffalo are not fed like cattle, they thrive on a mid grade hay in the winter, high quality hay seems to create problems. No real need to AI if you want beefalo but the offspring are generally sterile. Beef meat is lean, low cholestrol and coveted so it pretty much sells itself and it is fairly expensive and because of the way that buffalo are kept, it's close to organic or you can go the extra step and raise organic. The big expense with buffalo is that your handling facilitlies are expensive to buy or build and because they are considered a specialty meat so butchering costs can be higher. If you haven't tasted buffalo meat, you really should, it's excellent. I would not recomend raising buffalo unless you have a very solid grasp of cattle skills.
     
  6. Noreen

    Noreen Member

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    We have raised beefalo on our farm for nearly two years so will try to answer some of your questions.

    Beefalo are a recognized breed of cattle. A FULL BLOOD (37.5% buffalo) beefalo is exactly 5/8 bovine and 3/8 buffalo. Cattle that are PURE BLOOD beefalo must be at least 35% buffalo. Anything over the 37.5% buffalo are considered bison hybrids. Bison Hybrids are fairly strange looking cows but the beefalo that we raise look like cows.

    We have a PURE BLOOD bull that we breed to our cows and the end product (in our case 18.2% buffalo) can be sold as beefalo meat. Beefalo meat tests out as good or better than chicken or fish in the fat, choloestrol stats.

    We have not had any health issues or fence jumping issues with the animals except for when our bull and the neighbors bull get to fighting but we had that problem before we purchased the beefalo bull. We have put in a temporary electric fence and that has solved the problem.

    We live in Central Texas so if you are close by come and see them. We even have one ready to butcher if you are interested in purchasing a half!

    Noreen and Jerry
     
  7. Litsa

    Litsa Member

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    I work at a family butcher shop that sells lots of buffalo/bison. We buy directly from the farm. The meat sells well to hunters and gourmets, but most average folks turn up their nose like it was game or something. Generally, buffalo has less fat than beef and therefore cannot hang as long as beef can for tenderizing aging. The counter price is just slightly higher than beef. A) The hind quarter (premium cuts) is so much smaller that beef. B) Cost more to raise commercially, on account of they don't produce in feed lot conditions. People buy buffalo because it is high in iron, low in fat and doesn't taste gamey. Some of our suppliers give the buffalo a grain fed finish to fatten them up a little and change the color of fat from pasture-fed yellow to grain-fed white to make the meat more appealing to buyers - more like beef. The market is getting bigger, slowly. I'd take the advice to the other contributer about having good cattle skills before getting into buffalo, we haven't had the benifit of several thousand years of their domestication.
    Litsa
     
  8. Noreen

    Noreen Member

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    This weekend we made jerky out of both the beefalo and out of some venison that was hunted this year. We were amazed that the beefalo jerky had less fat residue than the venison and shrunk much less as well. We do the ground meat jerky rather than the pulled meat because we prefer it. We were very pleased with the results of both but the kids did prefer the beefalo jerky.
     
  9. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    We have a beefalo farm just down the road from us. I have to say they are the ugliest creatures I have ever seen next to naked mole rats. We call them the Mutants. I'm presuming because of the info in the previous post that these have a higher percentage of bison blood in them. Most of them have a bison body with a tiny hereford head stuck on it. Very strange looking. The place they are on just has ordinary cattle fencing.
     
  10. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    So i take it that beefalo are not steril?
     
  11. coventry49

    coventry49 Well-Known Member

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    When I lived in PA, my next door neighbor tried his hand at raising beefalo. He had a buffalo bull, raised from a baby, and a mixed herd of cows. He managed to keep the whole lot of them behind a single strand of VERY hot electric wire. Nonetheless, when that old bull saw me walking between my house and my barn, he would charge toward me till he got to that fence. Scared me nearly to death! :eek: I would stand and "freeze" until the old boy lost interest and wandered away. Can't say as I really trusted that single-wire fence.

    As Christiaan mentioned, the offspring were the ugliest things, but they seemed to be fertile. Did take a few years to be mature enough to breed though.

    Eventually the buffalo bull got so cantankerous that my neighbor had to put a bullet in him and put him in the freezer.
     
  12. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    No, beefalo are not sterile. Buffalo and cattle produce fertile offspring.
     
  13. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    Ahh alrighty, Thanks, i guess i wasnt getting that from the other posts..must have read it wrong!
    THANKS
    AJ