Before the breeding season begins a few simple management procedures involving your bulls can increase the likelihood of a high pregnancy percentage among your cows.
Any rancher that purchases a young, highly fitted or conditioned bull should plan to gradually reduce the fleshiness of the bull before the breeding season. To let these bulls down, it is a good practice to start them on a ration that is not too dissimilar to the one to which they have been accustomed, but that the concentrate portion is 60% to 70% of their previous intake.
The amount of grain can be reduced at the rate of about 10% per week until the desired level is achieved. At the same time, substitutions should be made in the form of quality forages–such as high-quality grass hay or alfalfa hay. Ideally, this letdown should be completed prior to the time bulls are turned out.
Dramatic nutritional changes can have an adverse effect on semen production, so it is important that these ration modifications be done gradually. Producers need to try to keep the total diet of these young bulls at, or near, 12% crude protein. Therefore, the forage needs to be excellent quality. Allow the change of diets to take place gradually, instead of allowing a rapid condition and weight loss during the first of the breeding season, which could be reflected in a reduced calf crop next year.
Other bull management strategies include the following:
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