DW was asking if we *could* raise a buffalo for meat. I’d assume their pasture needs are similar to beef, but was thinking we’d need much sturdier fencing. Is that a fair assessment? What other issues would complicate raising buffaloes? I’m of the understanding they’re stronger, faster and significantly meaner (or at least more dangerous) vs cattle.
They're unpredictable and dangerous. Bison have been known to flip small cars. I wouldn't, BUT! There are folks who are doing it. My first suggestion would be to watch the videos from the Arms Family Homestead, on YouTube. They show it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. It's fascinating. Spend some time down that rabbit hole.
The only thing...more expensive than education is ignorance.~Ben Franklin
I've considered it, in the abstract/hypothetical; we would need a substantial fencing upgrade, but then, we do anyway. Which probably won't happen unless the money meteor strikes, or I develop a lot more vim and vigor and enthusiasm for cutting and sinking a whole lot of red cedar and osage orange fence posts.
What I found out is that reproduction in bison is an issue unless your herd size is big enough to keep at least one bull. Who will be even bigger and more dangerous than the cows, and that much harder to fence.
The thing is, with cattle, I gather you can just keep a couple of cows, and get the vet out with a syringe of purchased semen when you want babies. (I know, nothing is that simple in real life...) With buffalo, it's impractical-to-impossible in most locations. For one thing, standard cattle chutes apparently aren't big/strong enough; you need heavier buffalo-engineered handling equipment to get them veterinaried in any way. Expensive, probably not practical for too small of a herd.
And then there's the problem that buffalo semen for artificial impregnation is not a regular item of commerce like bull semen is. I'm not saying you can't find it by special arrangement, but you can't just order it up readily. Or so my internet searches told me.
So, if you've got the land for a complete herd, maybe? But if you're dreaming, like I was, of just having a couple of happy bison cows ranging on the back forty, with fuzzy calves in tow that you butcher when they get just the right amount of big enough -- that's not as easy as it sounds.
What about finding a runty Bison bison heifer at a discount and giving a mature mini Zebu bull access? You might get some 3/4 sized beefalos. They would be great grazers, probably pretty healthy and the zebus would impart heat tolerance to the mix.
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