Territory Stories

Water Buffalo Handling: Property to Abattoir Part 3. Transportation to the abattoir



Water Buffalo Handling: Property to Abattoir Part 3. Transportation to the abattoir

Other title



Lemcke, B.

Issued by

Northern Territory. Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines


Serial No. 613; Agdex No. 487/20; Water Buffalo Handling; Agnote; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Agnote




This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Agriculture; Weeds; Biological control; Animals; Farm animals; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication





No: J65, December 2006

File type





Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Northern Territory Government Page 2 of 5 Dehydration You should learn to recognise a dehydrated and overheated buffalo so that precautions can be taken. In dehydrated or overheated buffalo you will notice: Increased reddening of the hide along the brisket and belly, and between the legs. Tonguing (the tongue hangs out of the mouth). Panting (greatly increased respiration). Sunken eyes (in extreme cases) and skin which when pinched, takes a long time to retract. Stiff or awkward gait. Very high rectal temperatures during pregnancy diagnosis. Buffalo found in this condition must be sprayed with water and left to cool down without disturbance. This is more quickly achieved if affected animals are able to mix in with the herd away from human contact. Proper attention to feeding and watering before trucking will greatly improve heat tolerance and endurance in trucked buffalo. Buffalo deprived of water for a long period and/or overheated will tend to engorge or over water, increasing the risk of mortalities. The addition of electrolytes to the water will reduce mortalities in severely dehydrated stock. Salt water buffalo Such animals are found in coastal fringe areas and are used to drinking salty water. If trapped and offered fresh water, they will often refuse to drink and will become dehydrated. Add salt or electrolytes to the drinking water; gradually reduce salt over a period of time to allow the stock to become used to fresh water. How to remedy dehydration Before unloading or letting animals on to water, individual animals may be observed as dehydrated. On trucks you can direct the hose or spray at the heads of affected animals. Unlike cattle, they are able to drink in this way, thereby partially quenching their thirst. This method can prevent most cases of mortality due to thirst or over-watering. Shade and spraying down will help reduce high body temperatures associated with dehydration. Electrolytes may be useful when added to drinking water. Allow small numbers of buffalo into the watering yard at a time (15 animals or a maximum of one truck deck). Push animals that are over-drinking away from the trough. When all animals have had some water, remove them from the yard and follow the same procedure for the remaining animals. In the evening or when temperature drops, all animals can have unrestricted access to water. Shade and/or fine mist sprays will speed recovery in hot weather. Avoid situations and circumstances that put you in this position by avoiding mustering, loading and trucking during hottest periods of the year, or of the day. Avoid using yards of poor design and people with poor stock handling skills. Muster animals and load trucks in the cool of the day. BRUISING TRIMMING OFF THE PROFITS Although less susceptible to bruising than cattle, buffalo will still bruise due to rough handling, poor yard and truck crate design, incorrect loading and many other factors. Correct handling with no bruising will increase dressed carcase weights at the abattoir and therefore the monetary return. Transport the adult males separately from the females and young stock unless they have had significant previous paddock time with no sign of problems. The exception to the rule is that some domesticated animals are sufficiently quiet to handle in a single line and may be trucked and slaughtered in the same