Mkulima today when selecting dairy cattle to be used for certain mating breeding programs you should normally rate the bull on the basis of the milk production capability of its clan and the pedigree. Tips for bull management for your farm.
Tips for bull management
In the determination of the overall value of the animal the importance attached to each trait depending on your needs as a breeder and your wants or wishes.
The only way of identifying for sure accuracy is by progeny testing.
There are 3 ways you can use to rate your bull are:-
- Milk yield in liters
- Butterfat concentration in percentage
- Protein percentage
You can compare the production of your bull’s daughters with other daughters from other bulls in the heard and within the same age group.
The percentage of the bull (pedigree) should also be considered. Only proven bulls should be used.
The bull’s pedigree helps in calving with ease and resistance to diseases like mastitis.
Handle your bull with TLC from calving to maturity. Remember to dehorn as this can cause a serious security threat to the bull, the herd, and humans around the bull.
Exercise the bull regularly to keep it in shape, your young bull can only be used to serve after the age of 18 months.
An increase in mating should be done gradually to 3 times weekly anymore frequent mating will be exhausting to the young bull and lower the productivity life of the bull as it ages.
Keep the bull in its own paddock separated from the females and only led for the mating purposes to the females during a planned period.
If the bulls are kept together with the others in the herd, it can serve the cows on heat without your knowledge.
This will also make your record-keeping efforts a steep hill climb.
Inbreeding will definitely, take place in something you don’t want to deal with. The bull can also serve young heifers that are not fully developed.
Sterility goes undetected as the bull could be seen serving cows yet you don’t see the calves at the end of the year.
- Waste of time if no cows conceive
- If the bull was not selected properly the progeny will be of poor quality
- Changing the bulls after every 2 years to boost productivity can be expensive
- Injury if heavy bulls mount young heifer
- The spread of diseases is higher
Bulls are still used widely compared to artificial insemination as it will never miss a cow on heat.
You can use artificial insemination as its advantageous and cheaper so long as the farmer can master the techniques, detect heat in time, keep proper records and manage the heard as required.
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