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  • bullnoseringFarming bulls for beef is a major business. It provides lean export beef (grinding beef) for the USA hamburger trade.
  • Farmers run mainly Holstein Friesians which are obtained as surplus bull calves from the dairy industry.
  • This is now a specialist enterprise where knowledge of animal behaviour pays dividends.
  • Bulls grow well and should average 1kg liveweight/day over their lives.
  • After about 12 months, bulls become very territorial and fighting often increases. They dig holes to mark territory and wreck fences during their activity periods.
  • There is regular riding going on and if one bull accepts this, he will be ridden regularly and can be injured.
  • Bulls clearly don’t like to be ridden and will move away vigorously, even if they like to ride others.
  • Injured or sick bulls will be ridden to death if left in the mob and have to be taken out. Rarely can you put these bulls back again, even after a few days, as they are seen as strangers again. They then become a good excuse to ride again.
  • Mobs of beef bulls are less of a threat to neighbours’ cows than is often imagined. They seem to prefer their homosexual mates until they get a taste for female sex.
  • Successful bull farmers use a few tricks to keep them quiet.
    • Always keep them grazing. When they are idle or bored they play up.
    • Run them at low stocking rate to give plenty of personal space.
    • Do not disturb them, as they are very alert to changes.
    • Have at least one empty paddock between them.
    • Use shelterbelts, so one mob cannot see the others grazing.
    • Run a donkey Jack with them or a horned Billy goat to stop fighting.
    • Move them from a bike or horse with a dog. Have help within reach.
    • Always be alert to the sound of their roaring. They use a high pitched confrontation roar when they see competitors or may have got out.
    • Don’t graze bulls in paddocks near neighbours’ cows unless the fence is very strong and electrified.
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