Daily management of working bulls will reduce health issues and improve their reproductive performance.
Adapted from Dairy Australia InCalf: Bulls. Power up!
To minimise lameness in bulls:
- Avoid making bulls walk long distances on stony tracks and train bulls not to come onto concrete yards.
- Avoid bulls coming into the dairy as they can consume large amounts of concentrates (avoid more than 2-3kg/bull/day)
- Regularly monitor both working and resting bulls for their reproductive ability.
- Ideally rotate bulls weekly.
- Run at least two bulls with the herd at any one time.
- Remove aggressive or difficult bulls as they are a risk to staff and other animals.
- Ensure bulls can be handled safely for routine procedures such as vaccinations, lameness treatment or examination.
- Immediately remove lame, injured or sick bulls from the herd and replace with healthy bulls.
Follow the same drenching and vaccination programs as for the heifers.
In addition to this:
This venereal disease can causes poor reproductive performance. Common signs include poor conception rates after the introduction of bulls, cows and heifers returning to heat, late-term abortions and a prolonged calving pattern.
All bulls should be tested and any persistently infected animals should be removed prior to mating.
GROWTH AND HEALTH CHECK:
If rearing your own bulls:
- Monitor live-weights to ensure adequate growth from birth.
- Feed young bulls to reach 50% mature weight by 15 months and 85% mature weight by 2 years of age.
If purchasing bulls:
- Buy virgin bulls whenever possible as they are less likely to introduce venereal diseases to the herd.
- Settle bulls on the farm at least eight weeks before mating start date.