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Orphaned buffalo

 
pollinator
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We have been offered an orphaned buffalo. My mothers co-workers dad owns a ranch. He has an orphaned buffalo on his ranch that has to be bottle fed. Simply wants rid of it. The process of contacting my husband and I was a bit long, and the buffalo may no longer be alive. (older woman thought that simply typing a persons name into the contact field of a text was enough to send someone a text)

Anyhow, if it is alive we will suddenly have a bottle buffalo baby and far more enthusiasm than experience.

Summary of our property is that we have 35 acres fenced. Well we did...we'd kind of removed a few spots. Could easily be put back up but there are gaping holes in our fencing right now. Our fence is smooth wire but the insulators and supplies for an electric fence are already up, so that's doable very easily.

I think ideally we'd put it in the back yard with the dogs until it was no longer bottle fed. Our great pyr isn't much for other livestock but we know he's cow safe. He used to jump the fence to get to the neighbors cows. So hopefully that is doable.

Is this nuts?

Could all be for naught, as there is a high likelihood that the baby didn't make it anyway. Still, if it did we want to be ready.
 
pollinator
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Would you be raising this for meat, or as a pet? Either way, I bet you need excellent fencing. They can get quite large. A bison ranch a couple hundred miles to the east of here seemed to have very stout fencing. Do you have the resources to purchase and store hay?

 
elle sagenev
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Would you be raising this for meat, or as a pet? Either way, I bet you need excellent fencing. They can get quite large. A bison ranch a couple hundred miles to the east of here seemed to have very stout fencing. Do you have the resources to purchase and store hay?



Yes we do have means to store hay.

Fencing requirements are the interesting parts. With the electric wire would it be good enough or?? I'm not sure.

As for point raising, depends on sex. If it's a girl we'll set about breeding our own beefalo. If it's a boy we'll be eating. I don't really want a male buffalo roaming the property.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Do you know what your carrying capacity is in animal units? Here the carrying capacity is 25 acres or more per animal unit (an animal unit is one cow and her nursing calf). Not sure how many AU a mature bison might be - I'd guess at least one. It might be a challenge to feed her on just 35 acres, which is why I was asking will you be able to purchase hay. it's so easy to overstock land if it hasn't been really improved - I learned this with our handful of sheep. But you might have a great opportunity to do really intense managed rotational grazing and improve your land, if you can afford more fencing. I think the usual thing is to have good perimeter fencing and make internal paddocks with electric fencing. In my locale people just do the perimeter fence and set stock, which means virtually all ranches are in poor condition because there's never any rotation.
 
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Elle, my grandfather was one of the first farmers to raise buffalo and he did a lot of cross breading with his cattle.
One year he had an orphan buffalo and brought it into the barn . He bottle fed it goats milk.
When it got big it thought it was more of a pet, and it was a little disconcerting to drive out to the field and have this full grown buffalo come bouncing up to you acting more like a dog than a buffalo!
Grandpa spent a lot of time repairing fences when the big bulls would decide to roam, but I think the cows mostly stayed home. But he had thousands of acres so I am not sure what you might find.

Maybe you could visit that buffalo ranch south of you and ask them about it?
 
elle sagenev
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Elle, my grandfather was one of the first farmers to raise buffalo and he did a lot of cross breading with his cattle.
One year he had an orphan buffalo and brought it into the barn . He bottle fed it goats milk.
When it got big it thought it was more of a pet, and it was a little disconcerting to drive out to the field and have this full grown buffalo come bouncing up to you acting more like a dog than a buffalo!
Grandpa spent a lot of time repairing fences when the big bulls would decide to roam, but I think the cows mostly stayed home. But he had thousands of acres so I am not sure what you might find.

Maybe you could visit that buffalo ranch south of you and ask them about it?



See I'd love to have a big ol' buffallo/puppy. I figure I can give it a dog mom in our great pyr and lots of human interaction since I'm out of a job here shortly.

Not real sure at this point though. They were going to let me know if it was still alive and I haven't heard, so maybe not. Depressing! If she'd just known how to properly text we would have had it this weekend and I'd know it was being cared for properly.
 
elle sagenev
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Do you know what your carrying capacity is in animal units? Here the carrying capacity is 25 acres or more per animal unit (an animal unit is one cow and her nursing calf). Not sure how many AU a mature bison might be - I'd guess at least one. It might be a challenge to feed her on just 35 acres, which is why I was asking will you be able to purchase hay. it's so easy to overstock land if it hasn't been really improved - I learned this with our handful of sheep. But you might have a great opportunity to do really intense managed rotational grazing and improve your land, if you can afford more fencing. I think the usual thing is to have good perimeter fencing and make internal paddocks with electric fencing. In my locale people just do the perimeter fence and set stock, which means virtually all ranches are in poor condition because there's never any rotation.



Oh I know there is no way I could feed it off of 35 acres. It's 40 per cow where I live.
 
Tyler Ludens
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You might still be able to take advantage of the opportunity to use a big herbivore to improve your land, especially if you can think of importing hay as importing fertility. The difficult thing these days is finding hay that hasn't been sprayed with toxic gick.
 
elle sagenev
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Tyler Ludens wrote:You might still be able to take advantage of the opportunity to use a big herbivore to improve your land, especially if you can think of importing hay as importing fertility. The difficult thing these days is finding hay that hasn't been sprayed with toxic gick.



We know our hay farmer. I keep trying to convince him to adopt me.
 
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I would pass on the buffalo. The fencing needs are extreme. The handling dangers are significant. To me, the risk outweighs the rewards in a cost/benefit analysis.

I dream of one day being a water buffalo dairyman. That's another bad idea for another dreamy day.....
 
elle sagenev
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Just a note that the baby died so this was all for naught.
 
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Aww, bummer.

Practicalities aside, I don't think there's hardly anybody with land in the American west who wouldn't enjoy at least the idea of having a buffalo wandering around on it.
 
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Not all for naught if one person realizes that orphaned buffaloes occasionally pop up. You might let area ranchers know you are their go to person.
 
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