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Keeping a bull on a small farm

If you only have a few dairy or beef cows on your farm, it is possible to keep your cows in calf using artificial insemination (AI) and not own a bull at all. A bull can be extra work and an extra mouth to feed, but there are some advantages to keeping a bull, even on a small farm.

Donald the dexter bull
If you rely on AI, you will need to find a technician or vet who is willing to travel to your property. You will need to watch your cows for signs of heat, and call the vet when the cow is in “standing heat”. It may take several attempts to achieve a pregnancy if you don’t get the timing just right, and you will pay for each visit. Consider that each cow will come into heat at a different time, and if you have more than two or three cows, the costs are going to add up, and it might be worth keeping a bull.

You can read the rest of my article on Farm Style.....

Unfortunately our little dexter bull Donald died from lantana poisoning a few weeks ago, but before he got sick I made this video of him roaring at the neighbour's bull, check out the video below:




Do you have any bull experiences to share?  Any questions?

If you want to know more about house cows, my eBook is available for purchase on Scribd.  Its only $4.99, and it includes lots of information about keeping a house cow in Australia.  There's more details about the eBook on my house cow eBook blog.  If you don't want to go through all the Scribd/paypal effort, just send me an email on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com and I can arrange to email it to you instead.

Comments

  1. have you considered borrowing a bull? we often 'lend' one of our bulls to small holders who don't find it worthwhile keeping a bull of their own (bulls need a nice sized herd of girls to keep them occupied.... if they a running with less than ooooo say 20-30 cows, they are tempted to look over the fence.... its not just the grass that looks greener over there ;) )

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  2. Hi Liz, A couple of other options for bulls are Share and Lease/Rent.
    On our work property the owner shares a bull with the neighbours. Every three years they take turns buying a new bull. They have agreed a target price in advance for all purchases. They have also agreed in advance their calving period i.e. one does Autumn the other Spring. The advantages are it means you only have to feed the animal for 6 months. The bigger advantage is that because your cost of ownership is half there is the opportunity to get a better quality sire and improve the herd.
    The Lease/rent option is used by some farmers. They may have a good bull they wish to keep and he is put over his non relatives. A second bull is Leased/Rented for a short period to go with the first bull's daughters. This is not necesaarilly a cheaper option than buying but it does allow you to prolong the usefulness of a good existing bull. And it allows the opportunity to introduce more expensive blood stock. In addition, a different breed can be utilised which produces less problematic calves for heifers or introduces some hybrid vigour if the plan is to sell the offspring.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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