It’s important to ensure bulls are cared for when you take them away from the cows. Dr. Ensley points out that bulls need to be on a good nutrition plan during the rest period. “Bulls use a lot of energy during the breeding season and usually lose weight,” he continues. “They need to be put on good pasture and supplemented as necessary to get them on the best nutritional plan and ready for the next breeding season.”

Dr. Ensley recommends producers review the bull battery carefully for the following:

  • Lameness: Check for feet and leg issues.
  • Eye lesions: Check eyes for lesions; treat or cull if necessary.
  • Penile injuries.

He also says producers should note body condition scores. The body condition of the bulls post breeding may be a good indicator of what happened during the season, adds Dr. Ensley. If bulls are in poor body condition, it may be an indicator that something is going on in the cow herd that prevented an early-season breed-up, and the cows are still cycling at the end of breeding season.

“The rest period is important for bulls because they are making semen during that time,” emphasizes Dr. Ensley. “The quality of treatment during the off-season will impact the next breeding season.”

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, MO) is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, based in Ridgefield, CT, and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.