Before the breeding season begins, a few simple management procedures involving the bulls can increase the likelihood of a high pregnancy percentage among the cows.
- In multi-sire pastures, make certain that the bulls that will be pastured together have been in a common trap or pasture prior to the breeding season. Bulls WILL establish a social hierarchy. It is better to get this done before the breeding season begins rather than wait until they are first placed with the cows.
- Put young bulls with young bulls and mature bulls with mature bulls. Mixing the ages is will result in the mature bull dominating the younger bull completely, and in some instances causing a serious injury. If the plan is to rotate bulls during the breeding season, then use the mature bulls first, and follow with the yearling bulls in the last third of the breeding season. In this way, the young bulls will have fewer cows to settle, and will be 1 - 2 months older when they start breeding.
- Check the feet and have hoof trimming completed at least 30 days prior to the start of the breeding season to avoid lame or sore-footed bulls at the important beginning of the breeding season.
Dr. Glenn Selk, Professor-Animal Reproduction Specialist
Animal Science - Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK