A Cowboy’s Faith: An unexplainable bull loss – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: An unexplainable bull loss

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Mother Nature sometimes seems to be involved in certain incomprehensible circumstances.

Essential requirement of bull power for a cow-calf ranching operation has been discussed before. A bull must romance a cow so she’ll have a calf the rancher can sell to help pay bills.

It is a major ordeal in early May getting bulls breeding soundness verified and into pastures with selected cows. Sometimes two bulls are put with each cowherd as backup in case one doesn’t do what he’s supposed to accomplish.

Many problems with bulls can occur during a breeding season, making it important to check them on a regular schedule. Sometimes bulls in the same pasture don’t like each other and will fight. They can injure each other, and are not mating cows when they are skirmishing.

Leg injuries are common in bulls working in rough pasture terrain, which often puts one out of commission. Reproductive organs can be hurt, sometimes severely, when the bull is taking care of business. This might be a temporary situation but is often permanent.

When a bull becomes incapable of servicing cows, it creates a major dilemma for the rancher.

Of course, when a bull is permanently unsound, he must be replaced which is a major expense. Despite guarantees seedstock merchandizers offer, still many of them do not cover certain situations that can arise.

Bulls in pastures are checked every few days, including moving around checking for soundness and encouraging them to work.

One bull and another bull with a few cows in a small pasture were seen and doing fine early in the week. Then on regular inspection a couple of days later, he was found deceased already partially decomposed by coyotes.

Close inspection of the carcass in a draw where the bull came to roll in softer soil offered no answers. There had been no lightning, no indication of a bull fight, it just didn’t seem to have any reasoning why.

Regardless, the bull was dead, incapable of servicing cows. Hopefully, the cows are already safe with calf, or the other bull will take over and make sure to get them settled. A new bull will be purchased.

It might seem unfair, but Mother Nature is getting the blame.

Reminded Job 21:12: “Their bulls breed with great vigor and their cows calve without fail.”


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


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