Manage bulls carefully before joining to achieve high conception rates. A yearly examination of the bulls in the herd reduces the risk of poor performing bulls and bull breakdowns. Before joining, consider obtaining:
Physical problems in bulls can reduce the ability and/or desire to serve cows. The animal should be examined systematically by hand and eye from the head, along the neck and shoulders, down the forelimbs, along the thorax and abdomen to the lumbar region and over the hindquarters and down the hind limbs and particularly noting the feet and legs.
Any abnormalities found should be subject to a risk assessment and reported accordingly.
The most important part of a scrotal exam is to palpate the contents properly. It should be conducted annually by a professional veterinary surgeon. The scrotal circumference and tone are an important part of the physical assessment of the bull because it determines whether a bull can satisfy the current mating load and affects the fertility of the bull’s daughters.
Big testicles are a benefit if you keep your heifers because bulls with large scrotal size sire daughters with better fertility and who have fewer days to calving. Use BREEDPLAN fertility Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs, if available) to help maximise female fertility.
Poor semen quality and quantity is often correlated to testicle size. Therefore semen analysis is recommended for bulls with small testicles, soft testicles with low resilience (associated with abnormal sperm and low conception rates) or features that have become damaged due to injuries.
Consider the following to help prevent physical injury to your bulls:[10,17]