A bull is usually selected to make genetic improvements in a herd, but should also be effective in breeding and “settling” cows. Some recommendations for selecting, evaluating, and managing bulls for a high percentage calf crop are as follows:
- Use bulls at least 2 years old. Bulls’ weights will vary according to breed and feeding program.
- Have your bull checked for diseases and breeding problems before the breeding season.
- Bulls should be in optimum condition for breeding season. Watch their condition and make sure nutritional needs are met so they don’t become too thin.
- Have enough bulls for your herd size. A normal ratio is 1 bull to 30 to 35 cows.
- Check cows to make sure they are “settling”.
- After breeding season, put them on a nutritionally sound feeding program so they’ll recover any weight lost during the breeding season.
- Select bulls from cows with superior records that calve every 12 months.