MANAGEMENT OF CARABAOS IN THE RANCH
Raising carabaos in the ranch is essentially the same with raising cattle in a similar adaptation. However, the availability of creeks, river or mud hole should be considered because of the inherent nature of the carabao to wallow. Pasture management in particular should also be carefully planned.
Slightly rolling and elevated land site is a requisite for a good ranch.
Requisites of a good ranch site:
1. Location. There should be an extensive space with more area for expansion. It must be easily reached by transportation and near marketing outlets.
2. Topography. Gently rolling and elevated land for good drainage is desirable. Hilly lands of not more than 30 degrees maybe used but steep areas and ravines should be avoided or fenced out.
3. Availability of water. Safe rivers, springs, and creek are highly desirable for drinking and cooling. Carabaos, if not provided with clean running water, usually drink from where they wallow. These animals usually defecate and urinate while wallowing . Presence of trees in the immediate vicinity for shade is important.
4. Soil and vegetation. Soil in the ranch must be capable of growing improved grasses and legumes all year round. The forage crops grown must not only be palatable and nutritious but must be free from toxic substances, drought resistant and capable of withstanding trampling.
Under improved practice, it is recommended that carabaos raised in the ranch be grouped into herds such as caracalves, pregnant herd, breeding herd and fatteners. The practice will overcome the problem of competitive consumption of feed on account of size differences and insufficient space requirement. It also minimizes early calf mortality and facilitate the recording and identification of animals.
Overhead water sprinkles for confined carabaos
1. Cooling facilities. It has been shown that carabaos provided with cooling facilities have improved daily weight gain, milk production and to some extent its breeding performance, especially in the estrus cycle. Cooling facilities maybe provided by means of a safe mudhole or stream. Bathing the animal with water through hose or sprinklers as well as provision for shade trees in the pasture or corral can also provide a cooling effect on the animal.
2. Working corral, squeeze chute and scales. A working corral is a yard used for a closer examination of the animal especially during drafting, weighing, dehorning, castration, drenching, vaccination, A.I. and pregnant testing. The yard should be built in a well drained area and where carabaos can easily be herded in. Other essential fixtures in the carabaos’ yard are the scales and squeeze chute.
The use of a weighing scale is very essential especially where treatment or for determining the animal’s performance. The platform, cage and closing gates should be on the scale. In this way, it is possible to obtain the correct weight of the animal even if it leaning by the cage or pushing back through the gate.
The squeeze chute is very necessary to restrain the animals properly and also to save labor and time in handling them. Preferably, a space of 2 cm is necessary to accommodate a single animal. This comes after the scale, as it is most appropriate to weigh the animals to give it the right dosage of a drench or medicine.
3. Sheds. It must provide comfort and protection to the animals. Shed building should have a north-south orientation so that it allows only enough sunshine in shade to keep it dry and sanitary.
A feeding trough or mineral box built within the shed should be protected from the rain and other elements.
The roofing maybe made out of hay or nipa to give the cooling effect. Hay roofing is made up of a 15cm layer of coarse hay held in place between two layers of woven wire fencing.
4. Fencing. Since proper utilization of pastures calls for sub-dividing the area into paddocks, then fencing these areas is a necessity. The following are requirements and specifications for a secured fencing:
- a. Fencing materials should be strong and durable. The posts maybe of two kinds: the treated and the live post. For treated posts, molave, yakal, guijo and mangkano are good example while for live posts we can use the dapdap, ipil-ipil, kapok and kalumpang.
- b. Posts should be buried at 60 to 76cm below and 1.22 m above ground.
- c. A distance of 4 to 5 m between posts is recommended. If the distance of the posts is more than the recommended length, battens are necessary to keep the wire spacing turgid.
- d. The wire to be used in fencing should have the necessary strength to withstand trampling and charges of the animals. The barbed wire is commonly used in fencing because of its strength and availability. But it is more expensive than using plain wire or gauge number eight or nine. On the other hand, it is recommended to use a combination of the plain and the barbed wire with the plain placed above the barbed wire. A three to four strands of wire would be sufficient to control the animal movement.
For more information, contact:
Department of Agriculture
Regional Field Unit No. VII
M. Velez St., Cebu City
The publication of this guide was made possible through the Livestock Division of DA-RFU-VII. May this serve our clientele at its best. – Eduardo B. Lecciones, Jr., Regional Executive Director, photo from flicker.com