As breeding season gears up so should your yearling bulls nutrition. The first breeding season for a young bull is a metabolically stressful period. Too often yearling bulls are developed on rations excessively high in concentrate with no acclimation period allowed before the breeding season. This may cause young bulls to lose condition quickly and suffer permanent physiological damage.
Leaving yearlings on an unsupplemented breeding pasture all season long also can damage future semen production. An irreversible condition called “Retained Droplet Syndrome” can develop that lowers fertility and viability of semen when frozen for artificial insemination. Certain measures should be taken to not over-use yearling bulls during breeding season.
- Keep the bull-to-cow ratio at 1 to 25 or less for young bulls.
- Keep frame sizes comparative. Young bulls may abandon their duty if cows are three frame scores taller than they are. And it increases the chance of injury.
- Use a 60-day maximum breeding season. Pull the bull off the cows after 60 days and place him on good grass and protein-mineral supplements. This may be all that is necessary to get him back in condition and in top shape for many breeding seasons to come.