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Working With Bulls

As breeding season rolls around, Kansas State University´s Chris Reinhardt reminds cattle producers to take extra care when working with cattle, especially bulls.

"Hand-raised bulls do not have the same timidity of humans as those raised by their dam," said Reinhardt, who is a feedlot specialist with K-State Research and Extension. "These bulls view humans as their equal and constantly have the potential to become aggressive toward their handlers."

He also encourages producers to take time to inspect and repair their working facilities, noting that the same facilities that handled last season´s calves through weaning may be sufficiently worn enough that larger, stronger, and more aggressive bulls may push the system beyond its limits.

"An extra day of maintenance could prove a great investment if human or animal injury is prevented and the time and inconvenience of escaped bulls is avoided," Reinhardt said.

He encourages producers to take their own age into account when working with mature cattle:

"As the body ages, several things happen. Response time slows, vision diminishes, and healing time is extended. At 18 the body is still nimble enough to dash out of harm´s way; with advancing age, the need to plan for, avoid, and prevent dangerous situations increases. A mishap at 18 or 20 resulting in a muscle pull, a sprain, or even a broken bone will heal more rapidly and permanently than the same injury after 50."

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