Nili Ravi and Kundhi The Best Pakistani Buffalo

Buffaloes found in Indo-Pak subcontinent belong to the water buffalo group (Bubalus bubalis). Pakistani buffalo are considered to be triple purpose domestic animals (milk, meat & draught). The herd size is very small; 85% of buffaloes are raised in herds of one to five.


Scope and importance of Pakistani buffalo production

Buffalo in Pakistan

The Asian buffalo or the Water buffalo is classified in the genus Bubalus, species bubalis. Asian buffalo includes two subspecies named also types: the River and the Swamp, the morphology and the purposes of which are different as well as genetics. The River buffalo has 50 chromosomes of which 5 pairs are submetacentric, while 20 acrocentrics. The Swamp buffalo has 48 chromosomes, of which 19 pairs are metacentric. The two subspecies are inter-fertile and give progeny with 49 chromosomes. Male crossbred progeny has sometimes shown fertility problems while female progeny has shown longer calving intervals only in case of further backcross. The morphology of the two types differs considerably.

Swamp buffaloes are less heavy, the adult male weight ranging between 325 and 450 kg, while River type weighs between 450 and 1000 kg. While the Swamp buffalo is reared mainly for draught purposes, although it also gives valuable milk production of up to 600 kg milk per year, the importance of the River buffalo depends on the high quality and quantity of the milk that it produces. Each subspecies shows a lot of breeds. Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) population in the world is actually about 172 million head: 168 million are in Asia (97%);


Pakistan Livestock

Pakistan is an agriculture-based 2nd economy generator after Service Sector, AGRICULTURE has 21.8 % share in GDP, LIVESTOCK has 51.8 % to agricultural (11.3% in GDP), Overall worth value of Rs. 1287 billion, Livestock is more valuable than the crops sector(6.1% more). The agriculture sector remained the dominant sector with its job absorption ability and it still absorbs 44 percent of the country’s labor force. It gives a kick start to aggregate demand for industrial goods and services as well. The agriculture sector consists of crops, livestock, fishing and forestry sub-sectors. The crop subsector is further divided into major crops.

The price of livestock items has remained a major contributor to inflationary pressures in Pakistan’s economy it is a high labor-intensive and job-creating sector. Its share agriculture is much more than the combined shares of major and minor crops. The livestock sector grew by 3.7 percent in 2008-09 compared to 4.2 percent last year. Buffaloes found in the Indo-Pak subcontinent belong to the water buffalo group (Bubalus bubalis). Pakistani buffalo are considered to be triple purpose domestic animals (milk, meat draught). The herd size is very small; 85% of buffaloes are raised in herds of one to five. There are 0.5 million landless farmers keeping dairy animals and contributing a significant (70%) share to the total milk production.

In Pakistan, the first strategy is also the genetic improvement in the NiliRavi and the Kundhi breeds through animal recording and selection and progeny testing trials. The recording of buffaloes is mainly done in the seven institutional herds, particularly in the Livestock Research Institute, Bahadurnagar, and on a few military farms. Apart from these, buffaloes at a farmer level are recorded under the progeny testing program which has been carried out since 1980. The Government facilitates vaccination against contagious diseases at nominal prices. About 5–10% of breedable females are artificially inseminated while the rest are mated naturally with bulls of a good type.

There are approximately 32.7 million buffaloes in Pakistan which constitute about 15 percent of the world buffalo population. Nili-Ravi and Kundi are the two main breeds with 38 percent and 25 percent of the total population, respectively. Out of total milk produced in the country, buffalo contributes about 68 %, followed by cattle (27%) and sheep goat camel (5%). Due to the high-fat contents of buffalo milk, it is the most preferred species in Pakistan.No doubt,We have the best breeds (Nili Ravi and Kundi) at the world level but they are not producing according to their potential, mainly due to mismanagement. Despite these problems, there is room for improvement. Due to their versatile qualities, they are rightly called as Black Gold of Pakistan.

The buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is originated from the wild buffalo (Bubalus arnee). The buffaloes are classified into distinct classes:

Swamp buffalo and River buffalo

Swamp buffalo

The swamp buffalo is most common in Southeast Asia and is draught animals.
Swamp names derived from the natural habitat which swamp or marshland. Swamp buffaloes resemble the wild buffaloes arni in morphological characteristics. The hybrid of swamp and river buffaloes are powerful work animals that produce good quality of meat and more milk the indigenous buffaloes. The swamp buffalo has a gray skin at birth but become slate blue later. Albinoids are present in some populations. Swamp buffaloes are heavy bodies and stockily built, the body is short and the belly is large.

River buffalo

The river buffalo is the most common type in the Asian subcontinent. The river buffaloes are massive in size mostly with curled horns, prefer to wallow in clean water and rivers thereby river buffalo. The river buffaloes have been selected for milk production. The water buffalo have domesticated in subcontinent some 5000 years ago. The water buffalo milk is richer in fat and protein than the dairy cow. The Water Buffalo definitely gets attention due to its size.

They can be up to 6 feet tall. They can also weigh up to 2,650 pounds. Their overall size will vary though depending on location. The males are about 25% larger than females. The Water Buffalo has been a valuable asset to society for millions of years. It is believed that very early humans used them for food, their fur for shelter, and parts from their bodies for making tools. The subcontinent cultures are very respectful of this animal for all it has contributed to them.

Horns that curve backward are the most recognized sign of the Water Buffalo. However, many people think only the males have them but the females do as well. The horns of the male though are larger than those of the female. Their coat is a dark gray or black color and it features hair that is very coarse. They are very large animals that are able to move well. Asia was the original home of the Water Buffalo but it is also doing well in Australia where humans introduced it.

They live in warm regions that offer plenty of water and mud for them. They do well in both tropical and subtropical regions as well. Due to loss of habitat, they are mainly found on reserves today instead of just out there in the wild.
The Water Buffalo lives in South America, southern Europe, and northern Africa. They live in large groups called herds. The males tend to venture off from this group when they are mature.
The majority of the herd consists of females and their young offspring. They are heard communicating with each other using low grunts and calls.

There seems to be a hierarchy among the herds with a dominant female that will decide when the herd moves. Water Buffalo spend a great deal of time looking formed that they can roll around in and cool off. They have hooves that are designed to prevent them from slipping and sliding in the mud. This ensures that they can still make a fast getaway if they are endangered. They are herbivores, consuming a variety of grasses and plants as they graze. They will also consume various types of plants that grow in the shallow areas of the water. They don’t stay and eat in one place for long.

The movement of the herd helps to ensure that the land will be able to grow new grass and other elements again. The rainy season is when mating will occur for the water Buffalo as there is more food. The males will come around the herds of mature females. The males can be very aggressive with each other in order to earn the right mate with a given female. After mating the male will go in search of another female that he can also mate with. The female will give birth to about 9 to 11 months later. There is usually only 1born, but occasionally twins. The young females will spend their entire life with their herds. The males though will leave the herd when they are about 3 years of age.

The average lifespan in the wild for the Water Buffalo is 25 years.
The number of Water buffalo continue to dwindle due to loss of habitat. Today they are doing well on various conservation areas where their needs can be met. Still, the numbers of them are low. Since the females only give birth every other year and they won't mate under stress getting the population to increase can prove to be very difficult.

The buffaloes are the largest source of milk supply in the world. Buffalo milking a good food contribution that the actual volume of buffalo milk.
The buffalo have been used as drought animals. Buffaloes are a major source of meat, they have not to be used solely for meat production. Buffalo meat from animals properly reared and fed is tender and palatable. The buffalo is lean animals. The water buffalo is widely used to plow, Levelland, plant crips.

Breeds Management in Pakistani Buffalo

Infertility in Pakistani buffaloes is mainly contributed by anestrus; repeat breeding, infectious diseases of the reproductive system and post-parturient disorders which indirectly lead to infertility. The causes contributing to infertility are nutritional, hormonal, management and infections. Poor feeding is an important factor contributing to infertility in buffaloes.

Nutritional deficiency in micro and macronutrient causes impairment in the production, secretion, and action of various hormones as well as growth factors. Stress during the summer season is another factor causing summer anestrum as well as increased repeat breeding conditions in buffaloes. The water buffalo generally is a healthy animal. This is particularly impressive because most of them live in hot, humid regions that are conducive to diseases.

The major cause of losses in buffaloes is due to calf mortality. Newborn buffalo calves, like bovine calves, succumb in large numbers to viruses, bacteria and poor nutrition. This is largely due to poor management during the calf’s first 2 months of life, e.g. depriving calves of mother’s milk and proclivity for wallowing which exposes calves to waterborne diseases. Further, a young one occasionally drowns when an adult rolls on the top of it. Mastitis is one of the serious diseases of the buffalo, especially in countries where buffaloes are mainly kept for milk production. Various biotechnologies available at present for enhancing buffalo reproduction include artificial insemination, multiple ovulation embryo transfer, in-vitro maturation, in vitro fertilization, cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos, production of calves of predetermined sex and cloning.

The technologies of the future include somatic cell cloning, stem cells, and their applications, genetic analysis and gene transfer. Genetic improvement methods that are being tested include an open nucleus breeding system with embryo transfer in riverine buffaloes and cross-breeding for swamp buffaloes. ONBS technique enables the production of more than one offspring of the desired type of family e.g. full and half-sibs for evaluation of males or females. selection in this scheme is on the basis of full and half-sibs rather than on the progeny or pedigree.

Buffalo being an animal well adapted to the temperate environment, has special housing needs. In buffalo housing should be well ventilated, protected from cold and hot weather and with ample supply of fresh and clean drinking water. This section deals in detail with buffalo housing for optimum production. In view of the working capacity of buffalo, they have been referred to as the “Living tractor of the east”.

In all the rice-growing countries of South East Asia, buffalo are used for plowing mud fields. The large hooves, flexible foot joints, slow and deliberate is the ideal animal to work in the deep mud of rice fields. Development of buffalo as a triple purpose animal (dairy, meat, and draught) has been advocated not with standing the fact that such efforts in cattle in the subcontinent have failed in the past.

Feed utilization in Pakistani

Buffaloes In addition to the advantage to buffalo of having large size muzzle and high mobility of tongue enable her a high rate of intake of forage and crop residue Further, the greater weight of rumen buffalo is also harbored more microbial population to grow indicating better conversion of forage. Rumen acidosis is seldom observed in buffalo due to the high rate of saliva secretion. Thus maintaining rumen pH. Feeding habits of buffalo and cattle differ from each other, thus buffalo can consume poor quality pasture or feed.

The superiority of buffalo over cattle indigestibility and efficiency of utilization of feed nutrients is manifested only when then two species are fed only low plane of nutrition with course roughages as the main source of energy. The data on average weight gain, feed efficiency and digestibility of various nutrients of the ration ingrowing calves and heifers of both species have revealed that buffalo calves gained more, required less amount of feed per unit gain in weight and digested greater amounts of dry matter and nitrogen-free extract (NFE) of the ration than cow calves under restricted feeding system.

Almost similar was the condition of the heifers belonging to two species in the ad-libitum feeding system, indicating their buffalo heifers, were on restricted feeding or adlibitum feeding system proved better converted of their feed than cow heifers. The data on the average digestibility coefficient of various nutrients, milk yield and milk composition in lactating buffalo and cow from the same experiment indicated the superiority of buffalo over cows. Buffalo milk is a totally natural product that can be consumed like any other milk.

Buffalo milk is very white and beautifully smooth. It is significantly lower in cholesterol and higher in calcium than cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk. Buffalo milk contains 58% more calcium, 40% more protein and 43% less cholesterol than cows. Buffalo milk is also a rich source in iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and of course protein. Buffalo milk contains high levels of the natural antioxidant tocopherol. Peroxidase activity is normally 2-4 times that of cow’s milk. Buffalo milk is suitable for many suffering from cows milk allergic (CMA). The high milk solids of buffalo milk are ideal for processing into superb dairy products and contribute to significant energy savings. Buffalo mozzarella –smooth texture and richness are simply the best.

Calf Management - Calf Mortality In Pakistani Buffaloes

In the commercial dairies, the calves are highly neglected due to the notion of false economy prevailing among these owners that rearing of the calf is not beneficial. In fact, the majority of these dairy owners purchase milch cattle and buffaloes with characteristics of good milch breeds ( Murrah and Nili Ravi buffaloes and Holstein Friesian and Jerseybreeds of cattle) which have a high production potential.

It is well-proven fact that the offspring of these animals will also have similar traits as its parent and therefore the calves in these dairies infrared will become very precious milch animals. But the dairy owners feel that the rearing of calves is much more costly and will yield returns after a minimum of 3-4 years and therefore they prefer to purchase new milch animals to maintain their herd strength and milk production throughout the year.

But the neglect and poor care of calves in these dairies are creating great damage to the nation in terms of loss of good quality germplasm. Also, the future of the dairy industry will be affected if the calf care practices in these dairy farms are not improved. Therefore there is an urgent need to educate the commercial dairy owners about the importance of rearing calves in terms of economic profitability.

In fact, a mass campaign needs to be taken up to improve the calf care practices in these dairies by making the dairy owners analyze themselves about the cost-benefit ratio of rearing calves. Further, they also need to be taught about the fattening of male buffalo calves which can be sold to the butchers for their meat value.

Survival of neonatal calves is imperative for livestock propagation; however, a large number of calves die during the first year of their life causing a heavy drain on the economics of livestock production. The mortality of neonatal calves was attributed to conditions like diarrhea and pneumonia. However, environmental and managemental factors hasten the occurrence of such conditions. Calf mortality was associated with the type of housing, feeding, management practices, weather conditions, external and internal parasitic infestation and bacterial infections especially those causing septicemia and enteritis.

Pakistani Buffalo Breeds And Their Description

Nili Ravi

The Nili Ravi buffalo is a milk type of buffalo breed. They are found mainly in Lahore, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Multan andBahawal Nagar districts in Punjab Province. Their color is black and their average weight at maturity is 800 kg for the male and 525 kg for the female. They have a wedge shape, massive frame, small curly horns, and walleyes. They often have white markings on the forehead, face, muzzle and legs and white switch of the tail (buffaloes with such markings highly desired and popularly called "Panj Kalian"). They have a large, strong udder and are generally docile. The average age at maturity is 30 months in males and 36 months in females. The longevity of production is good. White markings extending above hock and knee and over the neck and body, constitute a serious disqualification.


The Kundi breed is of the milk type. It is found in Dadu, Hyderabad, Karachi, Larkana, Nawabshah, Sanghar and Thatta districts in Sindh province. The color is solid black. The average weight at maturity for the male is 600 kg and 375 kg for the female. They are massive animals. The horns are small and spirally twisted and hence the name"Kundi". The udder is large and strong and the longevity of production is 'good'

Aza kheli

These buffaloes are mainly found in Khwaza Khella and Madyan areas of Swat district about 175 km northeast of Peshawar in KPK but can be found in the whole valley of Swat. Azi-Khelies have been named after a local tribe ‘Aziz Khell Physical characteristics: Colour variation in Azi-Kheli is quite pronounced, varying from complete albino animals to piebald to even black. The forehead has a white marking of varying size and can be totally white with a tapering face. Horns are small semi-sickled in shape. The tail is characteristically short and slender.

Uses Of Buffalo

Good service behavior may continue until the animal is 12 years or even older. It is believed that every part of the animal had a purpose. This included the bones, horns, and hide. Hide: The buffalo's hide kept the people warm throughout the cold winter months. The buffalo's skin was used for winter robes and bedding. The shirts, leggings, and baby cradles are also made from processed hide. The buffalo hide was used to make pouches and gun bags. Buffalo skins were tanned, a process to make leather and to soften the skin. The hide is an important item both for export and for the local industry. The world’s largest producers of good quality hides and skins. Leather is considered to be the most important raw material in the country's economy.
Hair: The buffalo's coat could be used to fill pillows or entwined as rope. Buffalo hairs are thick which render them suitable for brush production.

Horns: Horns are used as utensils such as spoons and ladles. The horn also served as a drinking cup. Horns are used to prepare varieties of practical and decorative articles including button, toggles, combs, spoon, forks, knife, handle, napkin rings, wall decoration, shoes, etc.
Meat: The buffalo meat can be dried into a thin dried jerky-type food, called pemmican. The dried meat allowed to store it for long stages. Pemmican was made by cutting the meat into thin slices and drying it in the sun or over a fire. The meat was stored with berries or buffalo fat to keep it fresh.
Tail: The tail can be cut and used for a fly swatter.
The end of the tail has wiry buffalo hair that's thick enough to be used to swat at insects. The tail could serve as a whip when attached to a rope. The buffalo tail was also affixed to women's hair for decoration.
Bones: Buffalo bones are durable and were used for a variety of subcontinent tools and equipment. The bones were carved into knives and war clubs. The ribs were used for everything from arrowheads to scraping tools to runners on winter sleds. Bones are used to producing bone black, the bone charcoal substances used in fertilizer during planting season. The boneblack had high phosphorus levels, a key nutrient for plants, and vegetables.
Feces: Tremendously used as fuel and organic fertilizer by rural people.

The following list describes each use for the Buffalo parts:
Horns: Headdresses, spoons, powder flasks, cups and arrow straighteners.
Skull: Painted and used in religious festivals.
Tongue: Hairbrush; eaten as a delicacy

Hair: String, stuffing for pillows and saddles.
Fur: Blankets, mittens, and saddle

coversBones: Knives, bones fleshing tools and sled runners

Hooves: Glue and stools

stomach: Buckets and cooking vessels

Small Intestines: Contents eaten after light cooking ribs: Sleds for children in winter

belly Fat: Delicacy used in preserving dried meat at Soap

Tendons: String, cord and sewing thread.
Bladder: Food bags and water containers

Liver: Eaten raw

high Bone: For breaking other bones for marrow

Tail: Fly Whisks and Ornaments

Raw Hide: Carry bags and harnesses

Tanned hide: robes, tipi covers, bags, moccasins, and leggings

Meat: Eaten fresh or dried.
Hump: Most flavored meat.
Dung: Fuel for Fires

Breeding Policy For Buffaloes

The target for genetic up-gradation for aiming to increase the productivity of buffaloes by genetic improvement. However, its aim should be to the conservation of native breeds. To achieve the target the collective efforts of all the agencies engaged in buffalo breeding active viz Livestock Animal HusbandryDepartment, Private sector, and Semen Production Unit Qadirabad in Punjab.
Germplasm- Semen of Nili Ravi, and Kundhi buffaloes should be used for breeding purposes.
Purpose of buffalo rearing: In rural Pakistan, buffaloes are reared for milk production along with limited use of males for draught and meat production.
The main purposes of rearing of riverine buffaloes are:
1. Milk Production
2. Meat Production
3. Draught Animals

Buffalo Production System In Rural Areas

Due to the better animal husbandry practices, significant improvement has taken place in the buffalo production system in rural areas. The awareness in the farmers about the feeding,
breeding and health management of live-stock considerably Increased. The buffalo production system in rural areas may be classified as:
1. Extensive: Small farm, with a maximum of 2buffaloes, kept on natural grasses, in communal paddocks during the rainy season. Agricultural byproducts are used for feeding, marginal land, family labor, and minimum investment, with simple,
traditional technology.
2. Semi-Intensive: Animals are kept in irrigated areas,
with cultivated fodders, crop by-products and concentrates. Buffaloes are confined to inadequate buildings.
3. Intensive: Herd strength ranges from 5 to 100buffaloes, kept for milk production as in Punjab, Sindh, KPK, Balochistan and close to the largely populated areas in Pakistan. The herds are fed on cultivated fodders and concentrate.

Lifetime milk yield and productive life: Nili Ravi and Kundhi breeds on an average completed 3lactations, some studied reported the average number of lactations completed in Nili Ravi to vary from 4.4 to 5.8 with lifetime yield 8914-9994 kgs.
The average number of lactations completed and lifetime milk yield in Surti was 3.72 and 4960 kg respectively.
Meat: About 86% of the world buffalo meat production is in Asia and mostly from old and culled animals. This meat is dark, is less tender, has a strong odor and thus is generally unacceptable.
However, when young buffaloes are raised under intensive feeding their meat is lean, tender and highly palatable compares favorably with beef from cattle of similar age and weight. The dressing percentage in buffaloes is slightly lower than in cattle.
Draughtability: In Pakistan, 60% of the total farm power is derived from draught animals of which about 10%
is from buffaloes. A buffalo can pull loads more than6 times of its own body weight, but its usual load carrying capacity is 1-5 to 2.0 tones i.e. 3 to 4 times of its body weight. These loads can pull for 2-3hours continuously and for 6-8 hours in a day during winter and 5-6 hours in a day during summer with rest in between.