Always think safety first this breeding season

At this stage of the season, on many dairy and suckler enterprises, the number of stock bulls out and about on farms is high.

The majority of farms, in particular dairy enterprises, will have finished up with AI and more than likely, by now, have let a stock bull out with their cows to ‘mop up’ any cows that haven’t held their serve.

Therefore, it is important, especially considering the number of fatalities that have occurred on farms in 2020, that farmers be extremely careful when there is a bull around.

Since 2010, 18% of all fatalities on farms have been associated with livestock. The proportion of these due to an incident with a bull is 18% – according to figures from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

The breeding season can be one of the most dangerous times on farms. Bulls can be particularly dangerous when trying to protect breeding animals out at pasture.

No matter how quiet a bull may seem, you must remember that bulls can be unpredictable.

Extra care should be taken when farmers are going out and rounding up their cows for milking when a bull is out with the cows.

Safety precautions when around a bull:

  • Never turn your back to a bull;
  • Fit a strong chain and ring to the nose of the bull(s);
  • If possible, use a vehicle when herding animals as protection in case of an attack;
  • When herding cows bring a fully charged mobile phone with you;
  • Avoid bringing dogs into the paddock where there is a bull;
  • Do not allow young children around a bull.

Furthermore, if a bull is being taken away from the herd of cows, then he should be moved to a well-fenced paddock.

If a bull needs to be handled for some reason throughout the season or you want to separate him from the cows in the yard, then you should not only be extremely careful but also get help to carry out this job.

In cases where you have an aggressive bull, it is best to get rid of him. It is not worth keeping an aggressive bull when they possess such a strong risk of attack. Always think safety first.