Putting bulls out early

By Sutton’s Livestock

A cow will not cycle for at least 20-50 days after calving. This is the involuntary anoestrus period. This period will be extended in poor conditioned cows or mobs on a falling plane of nutrition that are supporting lactation with the reserves on their backs.

If we put bulls out very early in marginal years, we need to consider how the delay in cows returning to cyclicity will effect our joining result and pattern, especially in late calvers.   

  • Firstly, remember you may be getting cows pregnant that didn’t raise a calf. Pending future management strategies, this may get you a pregnant female but she is still an undesirable keeper. Calf marking is the best opportunity to identify dry cows that have failed to raise a calf and get them out of the herd.
  • Presenting our cows to a bull for longer does not compensate for the need for some nutritional rise in the cows to achieve widespread cycling.
  • It is essential we monitor bull body condition score and fitness through long and dry joinings. Bulls can be in lean working condition but should maintain good muscle and vigour. Watching each individual bull successfully mount and serve a cow periodically through the joining is even more important if we are expecting them to work more than 12 weeks.
  • Use of a 48 hour wean is one option to induce cow cycling in marginal conditions. Remember calves need to be at least 5 weeks old to utilise this.
  • Finally, if we have used an extended joining, it is really important to follow with an informative preg test (fetal age and record). From this we can still identify and record late joiners that may be the first PTIC cull option if marginal conditions continue, as well as evaluating if the extended joining is working in our favour

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