A Cowboy’s Faith: Replacements for poor service

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That bull is bad.”

Such comment might be said defining a rodeo bull. It could be the bull is a bad bucker almost impossible to score on. Other times it might mean a bull is anxious to “hook the ‘W’ right off a cowboy’s Wranglers.”

Such dispositions of bulls used for breeding purposes on farms and ranches have not been uncommon in days gone by. However, with conscientious seed stock producers most are now producing bulls that are typically not fighters or troublemakers.

Still most ranchers with a dozen or more breeding bulls will often have one to “keep an eye on.” Now, that’s not to say they’re really mean, but not the friendliest things either.

One bull might have an ornery twinkle in his eyes, or sometimes snort when the herdsman or another bull walks by. Maybe shake his big head just a little to get first and extra at hay time.

Certainly a bull deserves caution when in his whereabouts. One push, even if considered friendly, by a ton-plus bovine can certainly be hazardous to one’s health.

Nope, it’s wasn’t an attitude problem with this particular “bad bull.” During the annual spring bull check, he came up “unsound for breeding,” the veterinarian said. Uncertain exactly what the problem was, but the bull wasn’t likely to get cows bred to have calves next spring.

Well now, the writing was already on the wall. Those cows he was supposedly serving last summer started “cycling” during the winter. They wouldn’t be gaunt, flat sided, tail in the air, riding each other if going to have a calf.

However, it wasn’t until those telltale signs that the herdsmen realized there was a pregnancy problem. Generally, there are two bulls out with each group of cows. That’s to assure that if one’s not doing his job, the other bull is settling cows.

This was a small pasture with not enough cows to seemingly justify backup bull power. That was the wrong management decision. Cows didn’t start showing until after grass season that the “bad bull” didn’t get ’em bred.

Bad bull became hamburger and his girl friends went to market, too. There’s a new “good bull” with a partner taking care of business this year.

Reminded of Romans 15:1: “Those who are able must step in for service.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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