April 12, 2012

Health Care For Bulls

If I had to speculate that if a survey was conducted asking reproductive age (you make your own assumption on their actual age) men if they had a general health exam prior to reproducing the answer would sound something like "uummm well, uuummm, no".  The vast majority of them would probably say they had not been looked at by a health professional since their last sports physical so that they could play high school football.  All of our cattle have a top rate Health Care Plan as all of them have at least 1 annual health exam performed by our veterinarian and yes that includes the boys!!!  We take our bulls to the vet every year prior to the breeding season to have them examined to make sure that they are fit to reproduce.  The vet makes sure that their body weight is appropriate for their age and mature stature, makes sure that all of their reproductive organs are healthy, checks their feet and legs for general soundness and checks their semen for an appropriate count of healthy sperm cells.  While we have them in the chute we also give them their annual vaccination booster shots and apply a medicine that will kill internal and external parasites that may be present.  They either pass or fail this exam if they pass they get another year hanging out at our farm except for the 75 days that they are expected to earn their keep.  If they fail they have a 1 way ticket to the sale and will be used to make lean ground beef that everyone loves to eat.  A couple of weeks ago we took all our bulls to the vet for their yearly check up.  This included the new bull we just purchased even though he was checked prior to when we purchased him.  Over time bulls will loose their ability to breed cows either physically, mentally or they can also get to big and can injure the cows. 

Checking to make sure our animals are healthy is very important because an un-healthy bull will not produce calves.  Each bull is responsible for producing approximately 16-17% of our calves annually.  If 1 bull fails to get his portion of the cows bred we loose about 24 calves in 1 year.  That is an economic failure we simply can not afford to happen.  It is in our best interest both ethically and economically to always keep the health of our cattle a top priority.  Even if they only have to work about 2.5 months a year and spend the rest of the year lounging in the pasture together.

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