Breaking in Your New Herd Bull
Bulls require a significant investment, and this should be matched by your effort to ensure they are successful breeders. Following are tips regarding the bull’s most recent diet and the breeding season.
- New yearling bulls should be given plenty of space to avoid mature bulls and to allow for exercise.
- If possible, young bulls should be given their own group of cows because older bulls will be dominate and keep younger bulls from breeding.
- Slowly reduce the energy intake of performance-tested yearling bulls to reduce gains to a 2-pound average daily gain and bring the body condition score down to about a 6 at turnout.
- Observe your yearling bull to make sure he acts like a bull, checks cows for heat and actually breeds cows.
- Bulls attract a lot of flies. They should be dusted with fly powder as often as possible.
- Manage the breeding season of yearling bulls to prevent them from losing too much weight. When they get to where you can see all their ribs they may not be producing enough sperm to breed cows.
- Management does not stop after the bull’s first season. You should continually pay attention to body condition, body structure, foot and hoof soundness as well as general health. Bulls should be given more attention than the cow herd regarding balanced nutrition. They should also be offered high-quality vitamin and trace minerals that improve fertility and immune function. The number of cows they can successfully breed is to a large extent determined by the quality of the care given to them during the breeding season and the non-breeding time.
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