Before making your bull buying or leasing decisions, make sure the boys that you’re looking at tick off everything on this checklist to help ensure a successful natural mating period.
They are virgin bulls - virgin bulls are less likely to pass on venereal diseases to your cows.
If they are not virgin bulls, you have discussed relevant venereal disease testing, such as Trichomoniasis and Campylobacter, with your vet
They are BVD, TB and EBL tested and have a clear result
You have the BVD, and other disease, test results in your hot little hands. BVD tested as clear is different from just being BVD inoculated
They are vaccinated fully for BVD and leptospirosis
If from a herd with Johne’s, they have a clear Johne’s blood test
They are not from a Theileria infected farm
They are sexually mature - they generally need to be 15 months or older
They are easy calving. Look for bulls with low birthweight and high calving ease breeding values
They are tall enough for your cows/heifers
They are not too big for your cows/heifers. They need to be less than 100kg heavier than your cows/heifers
The bulls are 3 years old or less - younger bulls are less likely to injure your cows and are less likely to already have back or penis injuries
They have sound feet and do not have horns.
You have ordered enough bulls - enough bulls for two teams (for rotation) and spares in case a bull/s becomes lame or injures himself.
Rule of thumb: 1 bull/20 heifers + a spare, and two teams of 1 bull/30 non-pregnant cows + a spare
They are in good BCS for the 2-3 months before they will be put in with the herd (when the sperm are being produced that will be ejaculated during mating). Rule of thumb: the target BCS at mating for bulls is 4.5 - 5.5
They will arrive on farm in time to give the boys time to sort out their pecking order and to get over the truck ride and any injuries from fighting. Rule of thumb: picking bulls from the same mob can help reduce the fighting when they arrive on farm