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If away from cows, they will be quieter and fight less. A good forage diet should be all the bulls need, at 2% body weight daily. There is a tendency to provide grain, which in many instances gets bulls too fat. If too fat, they lack stamina and the fat inside the scrotum will insulate the testicles, resulting in poor temperature regulation and poor quality sperm. With over-fat bulls, they need to lose weight to get fit to breed. Wherever bulls are wintered, make sure they have areas of protection from wind chills, such as bush or a portable porosity fence. We always see some evidence of wind chill in the spring, with herd sires having badly frozen testicles. This can result in permanent sterility in some cases. Standard mineral supplementation is required as bulls need, for instance, Vitamin A for optimal semen production. Give all the shots to bulls that you do to the cow herd, with the exception of scours vaccinations. An ideal time is at semen testing as the bull is restrained, just prior to the breeding season when protection must be maximum. Minimally, get the clostridial coverage, as these groups of diseases are sometimes not thought about in our bulls. Many good herd sires have succumbed to clostridial disease when protection is cheap. Also, a pour-on endectocide for internal and external parasites should be mandatory. Bulls will always have a higher proportion of horn and face flies, so treatment at turnout for breeding with a product like Boss, Sabre or Cylence is a good idea as well. When purchasing breeding bulls, check into the health program they were on, and test for BVD if the vaccination history is incomplete. If hardware disease is a problem on your farm, a rumen magnet may be indicated. Start with virgin bulls from purebred breeders. This greatly improves your genetic gain and avoids bringing in venereal diseases like trichomoniasis. Avoid used or rental bulls for that very reason. Select functional bulls with adequate testicle development, good feet and legs, and decent performance. The herd bull is the quickest way to improve your herd genetics. It is an investment worth looking after. SPJ

UNDERHILL ALL OUT 1D 5951-PB semen available





Dr. Roy Lewis, DVM

practiced as a large animal veterinarian specializing in beef cattle for more than 30 years at Westlock, Alta. He now works part time as a technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health. T H E S P E C K L E PA R K J O U R N A L


2017 Speckle Park Journal - Breeding Book  

Featuring the 2017 International Semen & Embryo Directory. The official publication of the Canadian Speckle Park Association, published by B...

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