Carabao Clinics Resume

By Kaytie Grant

Carabao Clinics Resume

It’s been a while since we have been able to conduct carabao clinics due to obvious pandemic related reasons. Well, earlier this month, we were able to do two. 

History of the Carabao

The carabao are the national animal of the Philippines. They symbolise strength, power, efficiency, perseverance and hardwork. Many of these values are followed by millions of Filipinos daily.

Unlike tractors and other farm machinery, Carabao require little maintenance and no technology – useful traits in rural, poorer areas.

Wormer administered to carabao
Wormer administered to carabao

How we help:

At each, 48 carabao were seen, wormed and given vitamins. Carabao should be wormed at least once a year, and be given vitamin supplements every few months, so this was long anticipated. The reason for this is that often their diet is of rice straw (unless they are turned out to pasture) which has limited nutritional value. So the supplements make up for any deficiencies. 

What carabao are used for:

Many farmers breed and train their own carabao to work on the farm. Roles include:

  • Pulling the plough through rice fields
  • Transporting goods either by pulling a cart or carrying a load
  • Providing milk for the family and to sell to neighbours
  • Providing meat for the family (older carabao at the end of their working life are rarely slaughtered for meat)
  • Selling to other farmers to use on their land
  • Providing manure for fertiliser and fuel
  • Using their hydes for leather equipment or sale  
Carabao clinic 2022
Carabao at an iwct clinic

Keeping them going:

An adult carabao could work on the land for approx 6 hours a day. So in addition to a supplemented diet, they also need access to clean drinking water and water to wash them down to help keep them cool. They can also be offered salt in their water, feed or in blocks to help with electrolyte replenishment. We advise farmers on husbandry at these clinics as well as administering the wormers and vitamins. Education in responsible animal ownership is one of our missions. 

Carabao clinic in a rural community

Whilst we are pleased with the number we managed to help, earlier this year it was reported that there are approx 2.78 million carabao in the Philippines, so there are plenty more who could be helped! Rural farming families make up a large proportion of the Philippines population, so we want to support them where we can. We hope these free clinics can continue regularly. They will help keep the carabao in good health, extending their working career and providing for their farmers. 

If you’d like to make a donation to contribute to a carabao clinic, you can do so here. 

Thank you. 

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