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? Bull Fertility

townfarmer

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We have a small herd of 10 scottish highland cattle. In May last year we put a Murray Grey bull in with them. It's nearly 12 months on and there are no calves or signs of imminent calving. Before coming to our place this bull had a 100% calving rate with the cows he was with. We have since learned that weeks before moving to our property the bull had a suspected case of "Bovine Ephemoral Fever" or 3 day sickness. It's been mentioned that this illness may have made the bull infertile. Does this sound like a reasonable theory? We're very new to the cattle industry and would love some advice.
 

milkmaid

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Following a fever, he would have been infertile or had low fertility for approx. 60 days, however, he should have been fertile again by July at the latest, which would mean your cows should be calving now.....

I'd advise having the bull semen tested and the cows preg checked (a vet can do it manually or you can have blood tests done - BioPRYN for about $3/cow). No point in keeping a bull that's shooting blanks.

Do you vaccinate your cows? did the place you bought the bull from vaccinate their cows?
 

townfarmer

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Thanks very much for the advice milkmaid and bigbull. Our cattle are all vaccinated. The bull was on loan and has been returned. I think we will have the cows pregnancy tested as suggested so we know whether we need a new bull brought in.
 

KNERSIE

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townfarmer":2ry7wd0i said:
We have a small herd of 10 scottish highland cattle. In May last year we put a Murray Grey bull in with them. It's nearly 12 months on and there are no calves or signs of imminent calving. Before coming to our place this bull had a 100% calving rate with the cows he was with. We have since learned that weeks before moving to our property the bull had a suspected case of "Bovine Ephemoral Fever" or 3 day sickness. It's been mentioned that this illness may have made the bull infertile. Does this sound like a reasonable theory? We're very new to the cattle industry and would love some advice.

Where do you live? I don't think you get 3 day stiffsick in the USA if I remember correctly.

Typically you have about a 90 day period of either infertility or subfertility, but I suppose it can last longer. If you are in an area where you can get 3 day stiffsick you can probably get Lumpy Skin disease as well, that will make bulls either permanently infertile or infertile for a much longer period than any other feverish condition. The best bet is to have a vet out to palpate the cows to see how far along they are if they are bred.
 

townfarmer

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Thanks for the reply Knersie. Our cattle are on the New England Tableland in Australia. We do get 3 day sickness here. We're pretty sure the bull had it. He struggled to get to his feet and was pretty miserable for a few days. That's interesting you mentioned the potential for permanant infertility. Hopefully it was just temporary for this guy. He was with the cows for a total of 7 months. Thanks again for your advice.

Andrew
 

KNERSIE

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townfarmer":35wpaeot said:
Thanks for the reply Knersie. Our cattle are on the New England Tableland in Australia. We do get 3 day sickness here. We're pretty sure the bull had it. He struggled to get to his feet and was pretty miserable for a few days. That's interesting you mentioned the potential for permanant infertility. Hopefully it was just temporary for this guy. He was with the cows for a total of 7 months. Thanks again for your advice.

Andrew

The first sign of 3 day stiffsick is droopy ears and excessive salivating, the cattle are reluctant to walk and when forced to walk they usually grunt and typically stop eating completely for those few days. The recovery period to get back to normal condition usually takes much longer than anticipated.

Footrot is another often neglected illness that can cause temporary infertility in a bull.
 
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