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Testing bulls

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George
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Testing bulls

Postby George » Sun May 14, 2017 1:13 pm

I have never tested a bull before turn out in my life. My daughter-in-law's father ( Larry ) has a degree in animal husbandry from Purdue and we went together on some bulls this year and he insisted we test them.

I like buying about 500# bulls out of known parents and this is what we did ( best cows in his herd and AI ed to a fancy bull ) I brought the bulls to my place to over winter and I halter broke them - - - a common practice for me.

When we brought them in they were acting nuts as I have several cows back in heat already the next farm south. I will not turn in a bull till early June.

Larry and the vet thought I was crazy but I told them as I had halter broke them I just needed to get to them with a broomstick with a hook for their halters and they would correct their behavior - - - laughs all around. I put lead ropes on them and they followed like little puppy dogs!

The older bull is the same but he did not have a halter on - - - throw a loop over his head and one jerk and he then remembered his manners. I do not have any cows halter broke but feel for safety the bulls need it - - - do any of you do that?

Then for the big question - - - I asked the Vet what percentage of bulls have a problem in our region? 10% - - - 25% or what - - - he said of the ones he test normally 3% to 5% fail - - - at $100.00@ it is not the end of the world but I feel this does not give me piece of mind as the bull could go out and break his penis the first day. I just wonder if I should go back to my old ways and just watch to see if the cows get settled.

If I was in a colder region where they could get frozen testicles it might be different but in my climate I feel it is almost a waste of money to test!

Now I want your opinions
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Mike
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby Mike » Sun May 14, 2017 4:31 pm

If you have a bank note to pay with calf receipts, it's a good idea to test.

It's not uncommon for a purebred bull breeder to have 10% of his bulls with reproductive problems/abnormalities (culls).
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Mike
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby Mike » Sun May 14, 2017 4:35 pm

Mike wrote:If you have a bank note to pay with calf receipts, it's a good idea to test.

It's not uncommon for a purebred bull breeder to have 10% of his bulls with reproductive problems/abnormalities (culls).


I have an older lady who buys a bull or two every year. All she wants is to see that the bull's penis is long enough to make a cow bow up in her back when he breeds her.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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cowman52
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby cowman52 » Sun May 14, 2017 6:51 pm

I have been selling bulls for along time and I understand your thinking. Most of the problems i have came across has been due to the feeding program and not so much anything else. Small pens, hot feed, trying to get them fat too quick, not enough exercise. In the past 10 years, not one bull has failed out of 400 or so. Bulls than run in groups, run in pens next to cycling cows seem to get everything flowing so to speak. At one time I worked several bulls sales as far as testing, clipping, and such. Problems came in tight pen space, young bulls not active enough. A failed test usually corrected them selves after a month on grass in a large pasture.
If you watch close enough, 3 weeks late isn't bad or just put a couple of cows in before you turn bulls out 2 calves 3 weeks early ain't a bad deal.

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leanin' H
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby leanin' H » Sun May 14, 2017 7:29 pm

We have to have all bulls tested in Utah for Trich every year so it just makes sense to also do a semen test. A perfect example is a bull I bought as a yearling last year. He was negative on Trich and passed his semen test with flying colors last spring. Covered our cows fine last year. This spring he was again negative on Trich but failed the semen test. Not enough volume and way too many mis-shaped sperm. We retested him a month later and he had gotten worse! Vet figured it was damage from our winter and we had to sell him at a terminal market. He was not too fat and had plenty of exercise. Simply did not have bullets in his gun. I'd much rather pay $121 for a test than have a bull that wont settle cows. By testing early I had options to replace him I wouldn't of had if I discovered that cows were still cycling after I turned him out and then had to scramble. And I would test for Trich anyway just for the peace of mind. After seeing wrecks caused by Trich in neighboring states and a few ranches here, it is money well spent. My 2 cents and worth whatever ya think. Good luck.

On a side note, even a halter broke bull can seriously hurt ya if he rubs ya against a pickup truck or something else. Do as you will and enjoy life, but the best advice I have heard was to never trust a bull in the spring. 2200 lbs of romantic bull sometimes forget what they learned in the showring. :-)
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George
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby George » Sun May 14, 2017 7:33 pm

On a side note, even a halter broke bull can seriously hurt ya if he rubs ya against a pickup truck or something else. Do as you will and enjoy life, but the best advice I have heard was to never trust a bull in the spring. 2200 lbs of romantic bull sometimes forget what they learned in the showring. :-)[/quote]

I quite agree - - - you must respect them. I tell people not to be beside an animal like that as if they swing their head for a fly they could hurt or kill you will no ill intent - - - but teaching them to respect a halter as a calf sure can make life easier later in life!
Watch your thoughts, they become your words.

Watch your words, they become your actions.

Watch your actions, they become your habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

GM888
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby GM888 » Sun May 14, 2017 10:46 pm

Have seen to many wrecks not to test. 1 bull out with a bunch of cows maybe poor fertility gets a cow or 2 in calf and you think he is working. Multiple bulls in the field and the boss bull is no good. I have had prime age bulls fail the semen test from degeneration , frost, infection, etc. I cant afford not to test. I find buying yearling bulls that have been pushed for a sale have a high chance of problems. My own bulls that are mostly raised on grass last till I'm tired of them

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Re: Testing bulls

Postby RSL » Mon May 15, 2017 8:20 am

Interesting topic. We test all of our bulls, the ones we sell and the ones we use ourselves. Age has a big impact on semen tests, but also mineral programs, excercise, diet, genetics, weather, etc. I would be kind of nervous turning out bulls that were not tested, especially if a dominant sire is shooting blanks in a larger group of cows. A dominant bull can stop a lot of other bulls from breeding. We try to cover our bases by using multiple sires (even on the purebreds) and then DNA test the calves. It doesn't take long to miss a bunch of cows if a bull gets hurt on the day or two you aren't there to check. Also, if a bull has footrot, etc. and you treat it, sometimes a strong antibiotic can mess up their sperm counts for up to 60 days, so treating a hurt bull can lead to bigger problems, even if he physically appears to be getting better.
Around here you can see the effect of a big storm at bull sales that are about 3 weeks after the storm, lots of bulls will have a deferred semen test results.
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby rancherfred » Mon May 15, 2017 8:41 am

I wouldn't turn a bull out without a test. $100/test may seem like you are wasting your money, but how much are the calves worth that you won't have because the bull is either shooting blanks or has problems with quality? Penny wise and pound foolish in my mind. There is a good chance that I won't ever have a case of black leg on my place, I still vaccinate for it. There is a real good chance I will never have brucellosis (sp?) on my place as the state has been declared free, but I still vaccinate for it. The resulting carnage from not vaccinating is too great to risk not doing it. The same is true with testing bulls in my judgement.

Brad S
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby Brad S » Mon May 15, 2017 7:19 pm

I like Fred's way of looking at insurance or mike sez test if you rely on income. If you have enough bulls on 400 cows, but one is shooting blanks or whatever, you're likely still pretty good. 1 outta 2 or 3 bulls will cut your throat. Breed back shots and babying bulls could reduce the need for a bse, but ya gotta sleep at night too.


My grampa insisted bulls turn and walk away, my dad, now same for my kids. I can see times it would be nice to have a bull broke to lead, but Id never trust one. I want respect from bulls - a little fear is ok. We don't handle bulls without a dog. A couple months ago a dog saved a kid's life at Torrington.

Brad S
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Re: Testing bulls

Postby Brad S » Mon May 15, 2017 7:24 pm

Fred, I know a vet that saw b leg in a herd. Vet sed people too complacent, and b leg kills you

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Re: Testing bulls

Postby Silver » Mon May 15, 2017 8:41 pm

In my mind a bull isn't halter broke if it doesn't have a ring in it's nose. Even then, I'm not interested in being that close quarters with them . Too many good cattlemen been killed by friendly bulls.
And I too like Fred's way of looking at things with regards to the testing.


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