Angus Australia


Serving Ability

Sound structure and testicles are of course no use without libido or the will to serve.[15] The mating behaviour of bulls can be assessed qualitatively and quantitatively (previously known as serving capacity testing) and they can be used to detect many problems that may not be apparent upon a physical examination and is not correlated to the bull’s testicle size.[15,18]

You may use this test to:[15]

  • rank your bulls
  • predict the number of cows each bull can be mated to
  • detect arthritis and joint problems
  • detect penile deviations

Servicing capacity
Counting the number of serves over a period of time is rarely used, except where insurance claims are made.

Examination of internal genitalia
This is recommended, especially in older bulls. This involves the palpation of the seminal vesicles and the ampullae to ensure they are normal. Bulls that are determined to be abnormal should be culled.

When applying a quantitative test in ranking bulls, the emphasis placed on the number of serves and number of mounts may be influenced by the intended use of the bull. Higher thresholds are indicated where bulls will be mated as single sires for a short period, but may be lower if intended use is in a multiple-sire annual mating program.[7]


When performing a serving ability test, the Australian Association of Cattle Veterinarians Code of Practice for Serving Capacity Testing must be observed at all times.[7,15]

Using restrained females avoids introducing more variables into the test and provides a better evaluation of the bull.[7]

A VBBSE that includes serving ability should be conducted annually on your bulls by a qualified veterinarian with experience in this field.