owning your own bull

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8 years 8 months ago #39988 by natacha
owning your own bull was created by natacha
Does/ has anyone own/ed their own bull? We have two dairy cows and thinking of purchasing a bull calf and breed him. Not that keen on AI and no dairy bull easily accessible in our area (unless someone on this forum owns one in the Gisborne area!?!).
Any experience and advice would be welcome.

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8 years 8 months ago #510358 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic owning your own bull
Firstly, since you mention it, what is it about AI you don't like?

AI bulls are the easiest to feed and control. [;)]

Bulls can be fantastically easy (if you're very lucky) or a complete pain in the proverbial (often) or downright dangerous (especially for the inexperienced, but also for long-term farmers).

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8 years 8 months ago #510363 by Cigar
Replied by Cigar on topic owning your own bull
How much land do you have, and what other stock? What stock do your neighbours have and how close are they?
Small area and two cows, two neighbours have heifers nearby (our situation) = no way would I have a bull.
Larger area and a few steers the bull could hang with for most of the year, well away from boundaries = maybe, but not a Jersey bull. Since you infer you want a dairy bull, that really leaves Friesian, which is too big for mating to heifers (or small Jersey cows).
I would be doing AI, or using a local beef bull. Beef X calves sell well.
If you were looking to keep heifer calves from your cows as dairy replacements, you would need to get rid of the old bull and get a new one every couple of years so he isn't mating his daughters - which means you aren't getting much use for the cost of rearing him.

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8 years 8 months ago #510365 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic owning your own bull
I have never AI ed because I cannot get myself organised for it, and because I have usually made lots of money selling the bull when he has done 2 years of mating. But ,,,,
Bulls tend to get a bit ferocious at about 30 months. I have not kept any past this stroppy stage, but if I did they would be getting too big for most works to want them at a good price.
With a purchased bull you have no idea if birthing problems will be a problem. With one bull we had to pull the calves out of most of our cows, and one calf died before we got to it. But that happens with AI to some extent also. The neighbour AIed her good sized heifer to an easy-calving Murray Grey semen, and she needed help.
Our current bull makes fantastic calves but some of the bull calves have a scrotum that is too small for the testicles to fit in. The vet had to castrate 3 out of 6 bull calves this year.

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8 years 8 months ago #510366 by stephclark
Replied by stephclark on topic owning your own bull
IMHO..Don't go there.. you have 2 heifers, so a bull will be redundant for 99% of the year..
if you don't have bull handling experience and have the facilities..it could end very badly..
AI .. and raise a weaner for the freezer rather than have an extra mouth ( out of work bull ! )

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8 years 8 months ago #510370 by Denneaux
Replied by Denneaux on topic owning your own bull
We have bulls and they are the easiest of our stock. Keeping them apart from the younger heifers is a bit if a pain, but it really is the only issue if your fences are any good. We purchased a weaner murray grey and used him the following season. He is 2 years old now and if he were an issue (which he isn't, he is the only animal that can be relied on to be where we left him lol) we could just send him to the works and repeat the process (at 2yo he is worth the most he ever will be at the works so might be something you would do anyway). We AI'd for years and I don't miss it. For two heifers you would have a hard time picking when they were in heat and would probably be best to start heat detection well in advance (to get idea of the cycles) or synchronize using progesterone.

Unless stated, the above post is not meant as criticism.

Go back and read it again in your HAPPY voice!

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8 years 8 months ago #510373 by muri
Replied by muri on topic owning your own bull
Someone said to me, an experienced cattle breeder, that Jersey Bulls were the most unpredictable of all the breeds. I am not sure if this is based on fact or fancy though

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8 years 8 months ago #510374 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic owning your own bull
Jersey bulls are dreadful animals. They start out oh-so-cute and turn into one of the more dangerous animals you'd ordinarily find on a farm. Leave horns on them as well and you might as well just load the shot-gun and point it the wrong way!

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8 years 8 months ago #510381 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic owning your own bull
If you are really stuck on the idea of having a bull rather than AI, then lease one for the few months of service you'd need to cover to make sure the heifers are in calf, and then send the bull back to the owner. That way you don't need to worry about feeding a non productive beast for 10 months of the year. If you can get a jersey bull around 15 months old, he should be able to manage heifers. You will still need to respect him however and if you don't have a good cow dog to help you handle/shift him, then use a tractor, or quad for a measure of safety. Hunt a bit further afield if non one close. There are bound to be people in your greater district that will be raising bull beef. If you decide to get a calf to rear, tame bulls are the very worst for unpredictability when sexually mature.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 8 months ago #510382 by katieb
Replied by katieb on topic owning your own bull
Dont buy a bull. If you dont want to do AI then lease one for mating

Many dairy farmers just buy bulls for mating, they dont want the hassle of having them for the rest of the year. In saying that we have our own here but its the support farm for 2000 cows. They live on the other side of the road to the empty cows & heifers before mating. Yearlings are mated with yearlings & 2yr olds mated with carryovers & the herds after 6wks AI.....Just before Xmas as 2yr olds they go to the works.....some are stroppy suckers.....one last yr went 2 wks early after he turned my quad onto its butt(with me on it). Another one chased me around the paddock one arvo as he was bored at the end of mating

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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8 years 8 months ago #510383 by Cigar
Replied by Cigar on topic owning your own bull
A bull farmer I worked for reckoned that Friesian bulls were okay temperament-wise until about 18 months old, with Jerseys it's 8 months old (some would disagree and say it's more like 8 days old!).
He didn't really believe me when I told him one of his 12 month Friesian bulls was acting aggro, until a week later when it chased his brother-in-law (townie visiting for Xmas) around the paddock. There are always exceptions to the rules!

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8 years 8 months ago #510396 by Denneaux
Replied by Denneaux on topic owning your own bull
We have used kiwicross bulls on heifers with great sucess. Have also jersey and yes Jerseys are terrible en masse. They are so aggressive with each other that they bowl over everything in the way of their scraps (including people). But one on it's own with nonbull company (steers or left in with heifers) will be much less of an issue.

Unless stated, the above post is not meant as criticism.

Go back and read it again in your HAPPY voice!

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8 years 8 months ago #510399 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic owning your own bull
Still wouldn't trust a Jersey bull! I once saw a lone Jersey bull attack a tree and beat it up-glad I wasn't in the same paddock.

Now my bulls are all sweeties-of course!
I have 3 x 2 year olds at present plus a yearling-and 6 new baby bulls! My homebred 2 yr olds I can go up to and scratch in the paddock, the third is a new boy and I'm a bit more cautious with till I get to know him. We usually keep a herd sire until he is about 6 years old. Beef bulls are far more placid (as a rule) than dairy bulls, but I never underestimate them when they get together in a gang when you want to move them or get them in the yards together-they spar together regardless of what or who is in the way.

Yes, with only 2 cows I would look for a lease bull or a neighbour who would run your cows with his bull, if you really want to get your cows in calf and don't want to AI them.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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8 years 8 months ago #510401 by Althea from Middelmost
Jersey bulls are one of the most dangerous animals on earth. I breed and raise pedigree jersey bulls and I have had some lovely bulls. But - I breed for temperament so anything that has an attitude goes to the works real quick. My present bull (Middelmost Audiobull) is very biddable and I shall use him again this season. He will run with the milking girls and he will come into the dairy shed with the girls, he will line up on the milking platform for his molasses and crushed barley and he will trot dutifully back to the paddock with the girls. And, do I trust him - never! Unless you have the expertise and the facilities, I do not think a bull is the right thing for you. Get the mating patches from Ambreed - with two cows you will be able to clearly see from the patches when they are in heat and with a good local AI technician the deed can be done very easily. Good luck. Getting the cows in calf can be a problem but a bull can be a REAL problem.

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8 years 8 months ago #510403 by natacha
Replied by natacha on topic owning your own bull
Thanks for all your answers, and to answer some of the posts:
- If someone told me they would put their arm up my ass to make babies, the first thing I would think is: this is not normal. I don't think it's fair to put my cows through this if I can avoid it. We had it done this year to our cows and I saw the look on their face. not nice.
- I would love to be able to hire a sire for the time of the year I need one, but in the Gisborne district there are not many dairy farmers and I am not sure if they would be keen on some random cow being on their farm for a few weeks, plus the fact we can't milk them/ look after them while they are away. The only bull I know of we could hire is a dexter, perfect for our heifer, but really doubt he could do the job on our older cow. I will ask around though and find out how easy it would be to lease a bull or get our cows with a bull on a farm.
- I have heard and read a lot about temperamental Jersey bulls and am definitely not looking at getting one of those. Other options are definitely not limited to Friesians though. Our cows are Brown Swiss crosses and we are looking at getting a Brown Swiss bull calf at the moment. They are a european breed know for their easy temperament, but a bull is still a bull.... hence this post.
- Having only 2 cows (and not intending to grow our herd any bigger) is definitely one of the drawbacks.

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