Bulls and Testing From The Udder Side of the Story

And we are already into April for 2017. This means breeding season is about to start again. And we need to think about getting our bulls tested again. Well I had him tested when I got him 1-5 years ago and he was good then, so he should be good now; RIGHT????? No, No, No, bulls can go bad and start shooting blanks at any time. If they get a small case of foot rot and spike a fever, which could make them sterile. We could have damage to the epididymis or testicle. We could also just have something wrong with the making of sperm or swimmers and they are not growing right. Any of these could become a problem. And we could also have infectious problems; such as Trich, prostatitis, epididymitis, just to name a few.

Having a breeding soundness exam done on your bull prior to turn out or at least once a year is imperative. For example, if you watch you cows everyday very closely, you will see let’s say 25 head getting bred within the first 3 weeks of turn out. Then you will see the same 25 head getting bred the next 3 weeks. Now you decide we better test this bull and he flunks. Now just to do some very simple math, “What did that cost?” Well 2 X 3 weeks equals about 40 days. And if calves should be gaining 1# per head per day on the other end, that will cost about $1.00 per pound per day per head. (40 days times $1.00 = $40.00 X 25 head = $1000.00. Which would you rather spend $45.00 to $60.00 testing or $1000.00 on lost production?

Now, if you work another job and cannot watch your cows very close and your bull is shooting blanks. Next spring your cows are not calving. No calves or babies!!!! If you have 30 head of cows and calves sell for $500.00 each; 30 times $500.00 = $15,000.00 lost. I do not know of anybody that could with stand a loss like that. Again I ask what cheaper $45.00 to $60.00 to test is or $15,000.00. I would vote to test my bull every time I was turning him out or at least once a year. It is cheap insurance and I could sleep better at night. At least that is what one client has told me.
Tim E. O’Neill, DVM

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