Preparing Bulls for Breeding Season

Apr 23, 2021

Tara Jo Ellerman
Countryside Feed Nutrition Specialist
Breeding season is essential to their bottom line of cow calf operations. We tend to focus our attention on preparing females, but, it is very important to not forget about bulls! A cow will typically have one calf per year, while a bull will sire 15-30 calves! Lets take a few minutes to make sure we are setting up our bulls for breeding success this spring!
Body Condition Score (BCS)
Ensuring a bull is in ideal body condition is very important pre-breeding season. Ideally mature bulls will have a BCS of 6, while young bulls should carry a little more condition. Under and over conditioned bulls can both result in reduced performance, leading to open cows! Be sure to continue monitoring BCS in bulls throught the breeding season as well. If a bull falls below a BCS 4, it is a good idea to replace him in the group of cows to ensure all cows are getting serviced.
Pre-Breeding Season Nutrition
Making adjustemnts to body condition in the off season can result in several different types of diets! Making sure bulls are adapted to high roughage diets before being turned out is important to help maintain BCS. Many young sale bulls are pushed on high grain diets to obtain performance data, if these bulls are not transitioned over to high roughage diets before grass turn out, BCS is typically lost quickly. If you have questions, ask your Countryside Feed consulatant on more ideas on how to adapt your bulls.
Providing a quality mineral with Availa® 4 is also a great idea. These organic trace minerals have been shown to increase fertility in both females and bulls when fed 45 – 60 days before breeding season. Countryside Feed has several mineal options available with Availa® 4 including Purina® RangeLand® and Wind and Rain® Breeder mineral line as well as Countryside Feed’s Beef Builder® Breeder mineral line. Bull pens are great places to consider using Purina® Wind and Rain® Mineral Tub with Availa® 4. A tub can be knocked around without worrying about wasting the mineral inside or a dammaged mineral feeder
Breeding Soundness examination
Another essential part to preparing bulls for breeding season is having a breeding soundness exam performed by your veterinarian. Making sure bulls are fertile and sound before turning out makes sure they are ready to go when its time to service cows!
Bull:Cow Ratio
Considering how many cows one bull can service is another consideration for a successful breeding season. An over worked bull may not be able to service all of his cows effectively. Typically a singel mature bull can service 30 cows effectively, while young bulls can handle about 15 – 20 cows.
Preparing bulls for turn out can make a big impact on pregnancy rates. Consult your Countryside Feed representative to learn more and to select the nutrition options that best suit your bulls!

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