Bull Fertility - don’t get caught out!

Calving is now well underway, and while it may seem early to be thinking about the next production cycle it will soon be time for bulls to go back in with the herd and back to work again! Preparing the cows for this period is crucial but it can be easy to forget about the other half of the equation. 

Susan Carr BSc BVetMed explains the importance of checking Bull Fertility. 

Studies have shown that 20-25% of breeding bulls are sub-fertile, and while a sub-fertile bull may still be able to get some cows in calf a fully fertile bull will on average achieve a 9% higher in-calf rate. You do not need to wait until scanning or even calving time to find out if your bull has done his job properly – we are able to carry out breeding soundness examinations on farm prior to use. All we need is a suitable, safe crush that allows access at the back and side, a source of power and a table that is reasonably sheltered.

These exams consist of:
•    A clinical exam checking body condition, the eyes, teeth and mobility/feet
•    Assessment of testicle size (yes it really does matter) and ruling out any gross abnormalities 
•    Assessment of the internal sex glands and penis/prepuce
•    Analysis of a semen sample – this is collected by inserting a probe into the rectum and applying a voltage (this may make your eyes water but causes minimal discomfort)

We can let you know immediately if a bull is fertile and whilst this examination is not an absolute guarantee of performance it will detect most problems and allow you to address them and limit any losses. You may also consider a fertility exam before purchasing or hiring a new bull, prior to sale of a bull, or if you have specific concerns at any point that bull may not be fertile. If you want to find out more then please contact the surgery and ask to speak to myself or Chris. Additionally at Severn Edge Farm we also offer Ram Fertility Testing. Please speak to your vet for the best time to get this booked.

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