Pasturing

Learn about the feeding program and working facilities necessary for bison.

  • Buffalo do well in most types of pastures. They eat a wider range of food than cattle and will roam the entire pasture while eating.
  • When calculating a pasture’s animal carrying capacity, we normally figure the same as for domestic cattle.
  • Buffalo can be trained to follow a vehicle using range cake and can be caught or moved using this method.
  • Buffalo can jump fences as high as 6′-6″. However, they can easily be maintained in their home pasture with a 5 wire barbwire fence with electric fence inside. If there’s no reason for them to want out, (i.e. hunger, thirst or mistreatment) they won’t try to get out. They will, however, walk through gates if left open.
  • Although fences used to keep buffalo in are not substantially different from cattle fences, facilities used to work buffalo generally need to be more durably built than those used to work cattle. They should also be taller, as solid as possible, and allow the owner to work the animals without being in a pen.
  • The squeeze chute used to work buffalo should have the following features: crash gate in front, adjustable head holder (so animals are not choked), and adjustable width.
  • Bison winter well on native grasses and prairie hay. They can be supplemented during this time with “range cake” if desired.
  • Buffalo can tolerate a wide range of temperature variations. Since their heads and shoulders are well protected by a thick covering of hair, they often face into driving storms. High temperatures don’t seem to bother them either, and they can often be seen grazing or laying in the direct sunshine, even on the hottest days.
  • Bison are very hardy, intelligent animals that do well with minimal human interference.