As the breeding season draws to a close, the number of bulls out and about on farms has suddenly increased.
Over the last 10 years, 16% of all fatalities on farms have been associated with livestock. The proportion of these due to an incident with a bull is 15% – 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.
Farmers must be extremely cautious around bulls. No matter how quiet a bull may seem, you must remember that bulls can be unpredictable.
- 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.
If the bull is not at pasture with the herd, he should be located in a paddock or a pen in sight of the cows. The paddock should be well fenced and any gates securely fastened.
Extreme care should also be taken when the bull is in the yard or crush. If you wish to separate the bull from the herd or need to handle him for any reason, get help.
Furthermore, if you have a bull showing any signs of aggression the only cure is to cull the bull. It is not worth keeping an aggressive bull when they posses such a strong risk of attack.