Protecting Your Investment: Bull Management

Dr. Colin Palmer is the Associate Director of the University of Saskatchewan, Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He and his family also own and operate their own herd of Red Angus cattle near Dundurn, Saskatchewan. Dr. Palmer is a theriogenologist (specialist in animal reproduction) practicing in western Canada for many years, but also has strong roots in eastern Canada.

“No producer wants to buy a fat bull but just try to sell him a skinny one.”


Fat deposits in the neck (top) of the scrotum can negatively impact sperm production. Photo credit Dr. Colin Palmer.

The investment in a herd sire is often a large purchase for any cow-calf operation. To ensure this investment will remain in the herd, breeding bulls must be properly maintained during and between breeding seasons.

Whether you are a commercial cattle producer looking to purchase a new herd sire or are a purebred operator who is developing bulls for sale, over-feeding is one of the biggest issues when it comes to young bull management, says Dr. Colin Palmer.

Pushing young bulls for large daily gains can lead to issues such as joint effusion (swelling), laminitis, acidosis, inflammation of the seminal vesicles, and over conditioning or simply becoming too fat. Continue reading