Carabao Reproductive Physiology and Nutrient Requirements

REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY

Carabaos breed throughout the year but the preponderance takes place between the months of August and January.

The dry season usually offsets the fertility of the carabaos. The semen quality is adversely affected, resulting in a poor conception rate of mated females. Also, high incidence of “silent heat” occurs during the dry season.

The sexual maturity of carabaos varies among the animals and sexes. Therefore, it is important to separate the male caracalves from the females shortly after weaning at about 10 to 12 months. This is to prevent premature breeding.

Estrus Period

Studies show that the duration of estrus among carabao, the Murrah and the grade differ from each other. The heat period of carabaos last for about 5 to 36 hours; the Murrahs about 24 to 71 hours; and the grades have an average heat period of about 24 hours. However, the majority exhibit estrus at night.

Carabaos reared under close confinement ovulate 15 hours after the end of estrus, or about 35 hours after the onset of estrus. It is believed that Murrah buffaloes ovulate at about 11 hours after cessation of estrus.

Estrus Cycle

Carabaos raised under close confinement or tethered in the field show signs of heat every 21 + 2 days. Murrah buffaloes come in heat on an average of 21 days.

  • First Fertile Mating – The approximate age of the carabao at first mating ranges from 859 (2 years, 4 months) to 885 days (2 years, 6 months). On the other hand, the average age of the first fertile mating of the Murrah buffalo at about 1,582 days (4 years, 4 months). The grade, however, gives birth to her first calf at the age of about 1,178 days (3 years, 3 months).
  • Calving Intervals – Carabaos manifest post partum heat 35 days after calving; Murrah and carabao grades, 49 and 44 days, respectively. The report shows that carabaos and Murrah buffaloes have calving intervals ranging from 1 year to about 3 years and 9 months of an average of about 1-1/2 years. The Murrah carabao grades were observed to have the same calving intervals.

Gestation Period

The gestation period of carabaos ranges from 320 to 325 days. The Murrah buffaloes and the Murrah carabao grades, however, have n average gestation period of 314 and 317 days, respectively.

Table 2. (click image to enlarge)

NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS

It maybe deduced that the nutritional needs of carabao is higher than cattle. Studies have shown that Murrah buffaloes fed with a ration computed to meet the USNRC requirement of cattle for growth and milk production did not show any significant response. However, when the rations for growth and lactation were adjusted to 10% and 20 and 40%, respectively, above the USNRC recommendation, results showed significant increases in growth and in milk production.

For more information, contact:

Livestock Division
Department of Agriculture
Regional Field Unit No. VII
M. Velez St., Cebu City

Philippine Carabao Center
5/F DCIEC Bldg. NIA Complex
EDSA, Quezon City
Tel: 921-3863
Email: [email protected]

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 www.my_sarisari_store.typepad.com

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  1. By james retazo

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