Don’t leave it too late to think about Bulls!

December 21, 2017

With February just around the corner, many producers will be looking forward to turning their bulls out for the farming community to cast their eye over.

More often than not, many of these bulls are bought from sales, taken home to a strange location, put into a bull pen and then forgotten about until they are needed in the spring/summer. How often do we see bulls go home to farms and ‘melt’? It is fundamental that these bulls are given just as much attention post-sale as they have been receiving prior to the sale. Taking a bull home and immediately cutting the feed right off them can lead to disastrous consequences in terms of fertility. Many of these animals have been eating large quantities of feed in order to have them in prime condition for showing. However they must be weaned off this volume of feed gently to avoid metabolic issues associated with a rapid change in diet.

Buyers should be encouraged to ask the producer for a bag of the feed the bull has been on to take away with them in order to reduce the stresses associated with changing environments so suddenly. Keeping many of these practices the same or as close as possible will enable a bull to settle into a new home and go on and perform at his best.

It’s not just young bulls that need attention too. Now is the prime time to be assessing older stock bulls; condition scoring, assessing feet and general health checks.

Once the bull has come back in from working, it is pivotal to ensure that he regains any condition lost during the mating season. Many bulls will have been working bulling spring and autumn calving cows and will be requiring extra maintenance. Younger bulls will lose more condition than more mature stock bulls as they are still growing whilst working as well. These animals should be fed little and often to build them back up to a suitable condition, ready for the next mating season.

Authors: Fraser MacNicol & Laura Wight

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