Physiology

Anatomy

The reproductive organs of buffaloes are smaller, but quite similar to those of cows. The buffalo ovary is smaller then that of cattle and elongated, while the corpus luteum is also smaller and often deeply embedded in ovarian stroma.

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Puberty

Age at puberty ranges from 16–22 to 36–40 months in various countries. Under field conditions, oestrus first occurs at the age of 24-36 months. In well-fed animals, puberty may be reached before 20 months.

Puberty is significantly affected by:
  • breed
  • season
  • climate
  • feeding systems
  • growth rate, with

The average age at first calving lies therefore between 3 and 4 years, but many buffalo cows do not calve until much later.

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Seasonality

Buffalo may be considered to be seasonally polyoestrus and a short day breeder.

River buffalo: the female is active from July until the end of February. The peak of first matings occurs during autumn and winter.

Swamp buffalo: continuous cyclicity throughout the year, but a crop-associated seasonal pattern is observed.

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Oestrus Cycle

River buffaloes: 20-22 days
Swamp buffaloes: 19-20 days for swamp buffaloes
Oestrus – on average 12 to 28 hours.
Ovulation occurs approximately 10 hours after the end of oestrus.

Buffalo oestrus behaviour is less intense than that of cows and is consequently much more difficult to detect. Mucosal vaginal discharge, swollen vulva, mounting behaviour (far less frequent than in cattle) and the standing reflex are the main signs of oestrus.

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Pregnancy and post partum period

The gestation period of buffaloes is longer than that of cows and is approx. 310 to 330 days. Murrah tend to have a shorter gestation period (315 days) than swamp buffaloes (330 days).

The calving interval of buffaloes varies between 400 and 600 days, although longer calving intervals are no exception. Seasonal, nutritional and managerial factors play an important role. The first ovulation in river buffaloes does not generally occur before 55 days post partum, but may be delayed up to day 90 post partum when a suckling calf is present. The first oestrus is detected after 130 days post partum in suckled cows, but may be delayed much longer depending on nutritional and climate conditions.

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buffalo herdsperm