March 2022 Meeting – Focus on Bulls

What do we want in our bull?

Our bull needs to be of the absolute best quality possible as they are capable of siring multiple calves and can therefore pass on poor attributes to many offspring. Conversely a cow will generally only have one calf a year, so her faults aren’t going to impact so many.

The considerations that should be taken into account when considering keeping a bull calf entire are many.

A bull should have a masculine head – a pretty bull may be deficient in male hormones. He should have a wide, strong jaw, broad nostrils and well set ears. His eyes should be well hooded and gentle.

Bull’s necks are short and muscular

Testicles must be even in size, hang together and not be twisted. They should hang long under the body.

His coat should be glossy and healthy looking

When walking, a bull should place his hind feet in the prints of the front feet. He should walk freely and easily.

His body shape should be in proportion – don’t buy a bull who looks small in the rear.

AND TEMPERAMENT! This is very important as you want his calm nature to be passed on to his offspring. You also want him to be safe to be around. Poor temperament appears to be highly hereditary. A bull with a doubtful temperament will stress when in the yards, or when being treated in the crush. This makes him dangerous as he doesn’t cope under pressure and may fight or panic.

Bulls who fight are a liability as they can injure other animals and it is tedious to have to keep your bulls separated. We had 2 bulls who fought, even with an electric fence between them and one had to be put down as his shoulder was irreparably damaged.

When you are selecting a bull for your breeding program, its is a good idea to try and do as much research as possible. If you’re new to cattle, get your eye in by looking at as many animals as possible. Go to shows, visit studs. In time you’ll know quality and can feel confident that your purchase will stand you in good stead.