So you have a new bull


Brett Littler - Senior Land Services Officer, Livestock

With bull sale season in full swing and reports coming in about the prices that some producers have paid, it is important that you look after your new investment and that you ensure you get the most from him (lots of calves over more than a couple of years). You can reduce problems by getting them home and settling them in properly.

During the sale and delivery process, bulls can become upset and excited. They are subjected to a lot of stress through strange people, yards, handling methods, trucking, unloading, new paddocks and different water and feed. This combination is often enough to upset even quiet animals, so it is important that you let bulls settle in when they get home.

When your bull/bulls arrive home, unload them at the yards into a group of steers or cows. Never just jump them off into the paddock as it may be the last time you see them and can be a good way to injure them. Bulls from different sales or vendors should be put into separate yards with other cattle for company and provide good quality hay and water, then leave them alone until the next morning.

The next day, bulls should receive routine health treatments. Check with the seller what health treatments have already been given. If they have not been treated before, all bulls should be vaccinated with:

  • 5-in-1 vaccine
  • vibriosis vaccine
  • leptospirosis vaccine (if in areas where leptospirosis is an issue)

Talk to your vet and look at your biosecurity plan. It is also a good time to review your management and treatment plans for your bulls. Bulls should be drenched to prevent introducing worms and, if necessary, should be treated for lice. Leave the bulls in the yards for the next day or two on feed and water to allow them to settle down with other stock for company. A bull’s behaviour will decide how quickly he can be moved out to paddocks.

Use new bulls in either single-sire groups or with young bulls their own age. If several young bulls are to be used together, run them together for a few weeks before joining starts. They sort out their pecking order quickly and have few problems later.

Newly purchased young bulls should not be placed with older herd bulls for multiple-sire joining. The older, dominant bull will not allow the young bulls to work much and will knock them around while keeping them away from the cows.

For more information please click this link or consult with your local vet.

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