Here are our top tips for getting a young bull ready for the breeding season.
Buy in advance
When bringing any bull onto the farm he should be purchased at least 6 weeks in advance to give him a chance to acclimatise and to allow for a quarantine period. Find out what vaccinations he has had or if he needs any further vaccinations.
Feet and Legs
Inspect the bull’s feet and legs to ensure he is physically sound and able for mating. Watch the bull to ensure he is walking smoothly, ensure his feet are even and do not require paring. Any young bulls with poor feet should be avoided as this will likely be an ongoing issue.
If buying a bull, make sure he is fertility tested or fertility test any bulls on the farm in advance of the breeding season. 1 in 4 bulls are either infertile or sub-fertile, or in the case of a young bull they may be still pre-pubertal. Some early maturing breeds will reach puberty at 12-14 months whereas later maturing continental breeds may be 16 months before they reach puberty. A vet carrying out a fertility test will also physically examine the bull to make sure he is fit for breeding.
It is particularly important in the case of young bulls that they are introduced to a small number of cows to start off with and then gradually increased. This avoids the bull being over worked, a young bull is still growing so will have an extra drain on his energy. Any major loss of body condition as a result of being overworked could have an impact on his fertility. It is advisable that a young bull should be run with the same number of cows as he is months old. For example, a 15-month old bull with 15 cows or a 20-month old bull with 20 cows.
It is important that we don’t just let the bull off, close the gate and assume he is working. For the first few weeks monitor the bull closely to be sure he is interested in and successfully mounting and serving the cows. It is good practice to introduce a younger bull to one or two cows that are in heat before putting him with a larger group of cows just to be sure he is doing the job.
For further advice on any of the above, please contact a member of the Moocall team to speak to some of our breeding specialists on +353 1 96 96 038 or email email@example.com