Trent Bridge

68 | Premium Genetics for Premium Markets BULL MANAGEMENT When you buy a new bull or bulls for your herd, you can reduce problems by getting them home and settling them in properly. Bulls of all breeds can become upset and excited during the sale and delivery process. They are subjected to strange yards, different noises, loss of their mates, different people, different handling methods, trucking, unloading, new paddocks and different water and feed. This combination is often enough to upset even quiet animals. New bull buyers are often concerned about the apparent bad temperament of a bull that seemed quiet enough when bought. Understanding why bulls become upset, and organising to reduce stress, allows them to settle down quickly. PURCHASE Temperament is a major characteristic to check when you buy bulls. Inspect the bulls in the yards or paddock before sale and note any unusual behaviour or activity. Note which bulls continually push to the centre of a mob, run around, or are unreasonably nervous, aggressive or excited. A note of this behaviour should be written down in the sale catalogue and referred to during the auction. At the sale, note any changes of temperament by individual bulls. Some bulls that are quiet in the yard or paddock may not like the pressure and noise of the auction and become excited. Others that were excited beforehand get much worse in the sale ring and can really perform. Using the yard or paddock behaviour as a guide, rather than the temperament shown in the ring, you can often buy such bulls cheaper, provided they are satisfactory in other respects. DELIVERY At auction sales, possession is yours after the fall of the hammer. Continued careful treatment of animals is important. Insurance against loss in transit, accidental loss of use, or infertility, is sometimes provided by vendors. Where it is not, it is worth considering. When you buy a bull, ask what health treatments he has received. For example, has he been vaccinated with 5-in-1? How often and when was it done last? Has he been vaccinated for any reproductive diseases like vibriosis, leptospirosis or three-day sickness? Knowing what has been done can reduce any health treatments. If you take the bull home yourself: • Treat and handle him quietly at all times - no dogs, no buzzers. Talk to him and give him time and room to make up his mind. • With more than one bull from different origins, you must be able to separate them on the truck. • Make sure that the truck floor is covered to prevent bulls from slipping. Sand, sawdust or a floor grid will prevent bulls from being damaged by going down in transit. • If you can arrange it, put a few quiet cows or steers on the truck with the bull. Let them down into a yard with the bulls for a while before loading and after unloading. • Unload and reload during the trip as little as possible. If necessary, rest with water and feed. Treat bulls kindly – your impatience or nervousness is easily transmitted to an animal unfamiliar to you and unsure of his environment. If you use a professional carrier: • Make sure the carrier knows which bulls can be mixed together. • Discuss, with the carrier, resting procedures for long trips, expected delivery time, truck condition and quiet handling. • Give ear tag and brand numbers to the carrier and make sure you have the carrier’s phone number. • If buying bulls from interstate, organise any necessary health tests before leaving and work out if any other requirements must be met before cattle can come into NSW (dipping for ticks, for example). When buying bulls from far away, you may often have to fit in with other delivery arrangements to reduce cost. You should make it clear how you want your bulls handled. Bringing your new bull home. DISCLAIMER: This extract was taken from the NSW DPI , it provides some useful practices for introducing new bulls into your herd.