Winter Management Of Herd Bulls

Now that the snow and cold temperatures have arrived, it is time to consider how you are managing your bulls for the winter and if the current management is meeting their requirements.

If you haven’t already, examine bulls and determining if they need to maintain their current condition or gain some weight back that they might have lost during the breeding season. Mature bulls can get by on an all-forage diet, however, young bulls that are still growing need to be fed to reach 75% of their mature body weight by the time they are two years old. For instance, if you purchased a 1300 lb. yearling bull this past spring and he lost 100 lbs. during the breeding season, he now weighs 1200 lbs. If his mature weight is 2000 lbs., he will need to reach 1500 lb. (2000 × 0.75) by this spring and needs to gain 300 lbs. by the time he turns two.

It is important that thin bulls gain condition, it is also important that bulls are not overfed. Fat layers around the scrotum can cause issues with temperature regulation, which can negatively affect both semen production and quality. Foot problems and structural soundness issues can also arise in bulls that are overfed.

It is important to provide your bulls with a year-round mineral supplement, as minerals like selenium, zinc, manganese, and copper, as well as Vitamins E and A are all important for reproduction and can prevent sperm damage.

Lastly, ensure bulls have protection from severe weather, as frostbite can also negatively impact proper temperature regulation.

If you have any questions regarding winter management of herd bulls, contact the Richland County Extension office at 406-433-1206 or [email protected].


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