This chapter addresses basic aspects of the behavior of female buffaloes during farrowing, milking, and weaning while also discussing the neurophysiological mechanism of the pain that normally accompanies parturition and describing the pain that female buffaloes may experience when suffering from mastitis. This is a common medical condition, but one that requires preventive measures because if it progresses it compromises not only the health and welfare of the buffaloes, but also the economic success of the productive unit. Finally, we outline novel strategies for weaning that can reduce stress in calves. The calving process places huge physical demands on the parturient buffalo that are associated with pain. Calving is a dynamic process characterized by constant, painful uterine contractions that increase in frequency and intensity. This type of pain has both visceral and somatic components. Pain surges in the peripheral nervous system as pain signals form synapses with the nerve tracts that extend towards the central nervous system. Recent studies demonstrate that milking routines can affect the comfort level of female buffaloes if they have not been habituated to the specific actions involved in a daily routine in which milking is always performed at the same time of day through certain kinds of handling during human-animal interaction. This chapter focuses too on traditional and current weaning strategies to improve productivity and calf welfare for river buffaloes. Wean calves as old as possible. Older calves display less signs of stress than young animals. Deworming calves prior to weaning, may produce heavier and healthier calves at weaning. Avoid combining stressful procedures like castration or branding with weaning. Weaning itself is a stressful procedure and subjecting a calf to further stress, notably harms their welfare. The knowledge of specific weaning methods might contribute to enhance the welfare of the offspring and to improve the reproductive efficiency of the buffalo cow.
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