In selecting a herd sire, phenotype or how the bull looks is an important factor. Not only do you want an impressive bull in the pasture, but he must also be physically sound. Here are suggestions on what to look for.
Head and shoulders
- Does the bull have a large, wide head or a well balanced nicely shaped head?
- Are his shoulders wide set with a square look or does he have a gentle slope with a calving ease look?
Legs and Feet
- Are the legs straight or is there a twist that causes them to turn in or out?
- Does the bull stand on his feet correctly?
- Are the hooves worn evenly or do the nails cross over each other.
- Is the bull well balanced from front to back with a level top line?
- Does he have a nice set to his hips that will be passed along to his females for calving ease?
- Are his testicles evenly balanced, hanging away from the body and large enough?
- Is his tailhead level?
- Is his sheath small and tight to the body?
When purchasing a young herd sire, you need to remember that he will put on weight and muscle as he matures and his looks will change to a more rugged masculine profile. However, using phenotype as one of your selection tools will help to make sure your bull will have the same functional profile you liked when you first saw him.