Angus Australia


Preparing Your Bull for Joining

Physical Examination

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.[14] Before joining, consider obtaining:[7]

  • pre-joining screening evaluation of your bulls
  • advice on which bulls to retain or cull
  • advice on bull management to ensure they are at the peak of reproductive efficiency at point of joining
  • advice on joining management strategies

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.[7]

Any abnormalities found should be subject to a risk assessment and reported accordingly.[7]


Scrotum Examination

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.[15]

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.[15]

Semen Analysis

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.[16]

Consider the following to help prevent physical injury to your bulls:[10,17]

  • the ability to control weight is critical. Prevent the bull from carrying excess weight. The dangers of grain feeding or a lack of exercise may contribute to this problem
  • prevent bulls from fighting
  • reduce the stocking rates of older bulls in paddocks or utilise larger paddocks


Check bulls for structural soundness at purchase and annually before mating.[5]

Scrotal circumference indicates the likelihood that a bull has reached puberty and whether testicular development is within the normal range.[7]

A minimum scrotal circumference of 32–34 cm is required, but aim for 35 cm and above (applies for most Bos taurus breeds, at a working age of 18–24 months, and with average
mating loads of 30–40 cows over a period of 3 months).[15]

Scrotal circumference should always be measured and reported on a VBBSE certificate plus any obvious abnormalities detected on the physical examination of the scrotum.[7]