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Tips for introducing new bulls to your herd

Tips for introducing new bulls to your herd

By Scout Nelson

Bull sale season is an exciting time for cattle producers, marking a period of growth and renewal within herds across the nation. When a new bull arrives, preparing adequately is crucial for its success and the overall well-being of the existing herd.

Here are tips few tips provided by Madison Kovarna, SDSU Extension beef nutrition field specialist, and Sydney Vanderhoff:

Housing Preparation

New bulls require robust housing with well-maintained fences to prevent escapes and ensure safety. Before the bull's arrival, inspect and repair any damage to fences, feed bunks, and water fountains. A clean and functional water source is vital to keep the bull hydrated and healthy in its new environment.

Health Checks

Although many bulls come with a health certificate, having your veterinarian perform a thorough health examination is advisable. This helps identify any immediate health issues and establishes a baseline for monitoring future behavioral or health changes.

Implement a quarantine period of ideally 60 days to prevent disease transmission to the herd, limiting direct contact during this phase.

Acclimation Process

Introducing a new bull to an existing group of bulls requires careful management to avoid disruptions in the herd's social hierarchy. Initially, keep the new bull separate, allowing visual contact without physical interaction.

This helps minimize fighting and injuries when they are finally introduced. Consider the age and size of the bulls to prevent dominance issues, especially protecting younger bulls from more mature, larger ones.

Nutritional Adjustments

Nutritional management is key, especially when transitioning bulls from an energy-dense diet to pasture. Gradually adjust the diet to a forage-based one to maintain condition and support reproductive health. Aim for a body condition score of 6 prior to breeding season, allowing for some weight loss during this physically demanding period without compromising fertility.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth transition for your new bull, promoting health and harmony within your herd.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-steveoehlenschlager

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Categories: South Dakota, Livestock, Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle

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