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 4 of 5 RECOMMENDED LOADING DENSITIES FOR LIVESTOCK Table 1. Minimum and maximum numbers of cattle of various live weights for 3 and 4 metre pens and double deck road transports Live-weight (kg) 3-m pen (7.2 m) Minimum+ Maximum* 4-m pen (9.6 m) Minimum+ Maximum* Deck 12.2 m Bottom# Top 250 7 10 10 14 38 36 300 7 9 10 12 34 32 350 6 8 9 11 30 28 400 5 7 7 9 28 26 450 5 6 7 9 26 23 500 4 6 6 8 24 21 550 4 5 6 7 22 19 600 3 5 4 6 20 17 650 3 4 4 5 18 15 +Cattle transported at densities lower than above may be more prone to injury in emergency braking situations during travel *Loading densities greater than the maximum recommended may not permit fallen animals to be brought to their feet before unloading #Bottom deck loading rate also applies to single deck trailers At the abattoir pre-slaughter Any stressful situation should be avoided in the 48 hours prior to slaughter, wherever possible. At the abattoir, you may need to show abattoir staff how quietly your stock will move through the yards without 4wheel drives and electric prods. If the stay in the yards is longer than eight hours, make sure animals have plenty of feed and clean water to reduce stress and weight loss - you will be paying for the weight loss in most instances. If possible attend to the stock yourself. Use the arrangements described in this Agnote with abattoir staff so you maximise the potential returns of your breeding and care during transport, which will be expressed fully in the meat produced. If a stressful situation occurs prior to loading, replace stressed animals and keep them until the next shipment leaves for slaughter. Otherwise pH of stressed animals will be elevated at slaughter and discount prices will apply. CONCLUSION To be able to achieve good handling and husbandry of buffalo, improvements may need to be made right through every facet of the operation. Careful initial planning in the layout of the property, design of laneways, fences and yards is essential, as well as a positive attitude of the owner and staff toward the herd. Retraining of stock may be necessary in the short term or segregation of young stock by weaning, training and keeping them totally separate from older buffalo. This may be a good start towards developing a quiet, tractable herd. Obviously, frequent human contact, particularly at the time of providing feed, is a good positive reinforcement. Most of the management changes are common sense. Owners soon learn what the wrong treatments are; correcting them may take more time and patience. Patience and attitude of the handler are the key issues with all buffalo handling. A person with a short fuse or bad temper should not handle buffalo. The benefits of good animal husbandry techniques and quiet stock will be ultimately reflected in higher profits for the producer. If animals are quiet and easily managed, labour requirements and cost will be reduced. Similarly, there will be fewer injuries and bruising to stock and people, and less damage to facilities.