News & Advice

Knowing Bull Soundness Is Important

Aug 7, 2015 | Biosecurity, Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Dairy Farm Reproduction

Getting bulls fertility checked is one of the most effective, easy and inexpensive ways of improving your herd’s reproductive performance. 
From our 25 years of fertility testing we know that about 10% of bulls are not ‘fit for purpose’. 
Just one of these bulls in your team can have disastrous consequences, especially if they dominate the others. You need to do a fertility soundness check to know your bull team is sound. 
We recommend testing ONE MONTH before bulls go out, to allow plenty of time to source (and test) replacements if any are found to be unsound. 
Book Anexa FVC’s bull testing service. You will get the results immediately. 
Call your local Anexa FVC clinic to arrange a date that suits you. As this is a specialised procedure, we have specific bull fertility testing vets, who may not be your local vet. You do not need to be an Anexa FVC client to book this service. 
What’s involved? 
Physical examination: 
Genitalia check for deformities and scrotal circumference measurement. 
General lameness check of feet, legs, hips and back. 
Body condition assessment and a general health check. 
Semen examination: 
Semen checked for sperm concentration and motility. 
Blood sample: 
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) status and vaccination if needed. 
How soon do you know the test results? 
Results are available immediately after the physical examination and semen examination, allowing you to draft off failed bulls. Blood sampling for BVD takes a few days. We provide testing certificates if required once all results are available. 

Our standard bull assessment does not include a serving test (mounting and penetration), but we provide advice on how to monitor serving ability once bulls have been put out and a recording sheet to help you keep track of bull performance. However, we can provide a serving test on farms where deemed necessary. 
Managing Sperm Quality 
Any illness or stress from transport, handling or feed/water shortage can affect mature sperm quality for up to 60 days. 

Bulls should be managed to minimise stress between testing and joining the herd, and any bulls that get sick or go lame during mating should be stood down for the rest of the breeding season. 
Other bull matters to be aware of and check: 
Leptospirosis – if their vaccination history is unknown, bulls should be vaccinated on arrival. 
Enzootic Bovine Leukosis (EBL) – if the bull supplier’s herd is not known to be clear of EBL, bulls should be tested before arriving on-farm. 
Tuberculosis (TB) – check the original herd details and/or testing history. 
Parasites – ask about the bulls’ drench history, and consider a quarantine drench on arrival. Wormy bulls are at greater risk of poor fertility. 
Always ask for proof of the bulls’ health history and contact us if you have any concerns. 
Getting bulls checked can be one of the most effective, easy and inexpensive ways of improving your herd’s reproductive performance. 
You need to know if your bulls are fertile. 
Phone Diane on 07 824 2103 to book your appointment today 
0800 2 THE VET (0800 284 3838) | 

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