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Managing Yearling Bulls

Managing Yearling Bulls

Managing yearling bull can be divided into 3 periods:

Pre-breeding yearling bulls

The main goal during this period is to make sure the yearling bull is physically fit to breed cows. Nutrition is crucial to meet this goal. Most yearling bulls are developed on ration with high rate of gain, usually over 3 pounds per day. At the start of breeding season, a yearling bull should be gaining 2 - 2.5 pounds per day. This new bull's ration must change to support the desired growth rate.

When adjusting the yearling bulls to a new ration, slowly decrease the grain portion of the diet by 10% every other day until the ideal level is met. It is highly discouraged to rapidly drop nutrition as it will affect the bull's libido and fertility. In an ideal scenario, the period of adjustment should be minimum 60 days before the breeding season begins. A yearly bull should eat approximately 2.2 percent of its body weight in dry matter each day.

In addition to proper nutrition, yearling bulls should have ample space as well as adequate water supply.

A properly conditioned bull should have a body condition score of 6.0 when turned out with the cows. Bulls should weigh at least 1,100 pounds at turn out.

Breeding season

During this period, main goal is to maintain growth rate as well as body condition while breeding optimal number of cows.

Throughout this season, the yearling bull should continue to gain 2 - 2.5 pounds per day. Hand feed the bull 10 - 22 pounds of grain each day to support the growth rate.

During the final breeding season, observe the herd and determine if the bull is following, mounting and servicing cows in heat. Take note of cows being bred and see if they are coming back into heat 21 days later.

Post breeding season

During this period, the main goal is to replace the weight lost during the breeding season. A good target is to reach 65 - 75% of their mature weight by their second birthday.

While proper nutrition is crucial, it is equally important that yearling bulls be treated for internal and external parasites. A vaccination protocol should be implemented in consultation with a veterinarian. If circumstance allow, the yearling bulls should be managed separately from the cow herd. It is highly discouraged to put them with older bulls as they will get dominated.

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