So you have a new bull!
Brett Littler, Livestock Officer
With Spring Bull sale season starting to come to and end and some producers making some big investments, 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 jump them from the back of a truck directly into a paddock—it may be the last time you see them.
Bulls from different origins should be put into separate yards with other cattle for company. Provide hay, water and 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 a issue)
Consult with your veterinarian and draw up a policy for treating bulls on arrival and then annually. 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 a number of 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.