This week, Apollo, our 9 month old bull, got his new bull bling.
The vet was out to do health papers for the Ohio Beef Expo and some pregnancy checks, so we had him go ahead and add a bull ring for Apollo.
So what is a bull ring and why do we use them?
A bull ring is simply a ring, usually made of brass, stainless steel or aluminum that is inserted into the septum. This is usually done by a veterinarian when an animal is between nine and twelve months of age.
So what is the purpose of a bull ring?
The bull ring has been used for generations as a safety measure to control an animal. The septum is a very sensitive area, so a tug on the bull ring will help to bring the animal into submission.
If you have been around farming very long, or even read the paper, you have probably heard of some story about a bull attacking a grown man. Most of these stories do not end well.
While the Miniature Herefords are known for being a docile breed, the bulls are still very large animals. Any time you take a 1,000 pounds of solid muscle with an attitude, a 200 pound man doesn't stand a chance.
Mitchell, our mature bull, is a doll baby, and we have never worried about the boys handling him. However, there have been 2 separate occasions when he has not been a happy camper. One involved being separated from his ladies, and one was not taking kindly to a stranger on the farm. It is at times like these that you learn to respect any bull. They are still an animal with hormones and are much stronger than any human.
Any time you are handling a bull, you must never forget the dangers. It just takes one wrong move or an unusual circumstance to turn the tables. While the hope is that you never have to be that close to a raging bull, having the option to pull on a bull ring may be the only thing that saves you.
Many cattle shows require all bulls to have a bull ring. Typically a bull is shown with a nose lead clipped to that bull ring. Most times bulls are stalled and shown in very close proximity to heifers and cows. If any of those heifers or cows are in heat...you might have yourself one determined bull. It is for this reason that a bull ring and nose lead are always a good idea in the show circuit, even if it is not required.
It the first picture, you can see how big Apollo's ring is. Our vet always puts in the large bull ring.
There are two reasons for this.
First, we have miniature cattle. Being small is an asset. Any time you can accentuate your assets it is a good thing. By using a larger ring, it makes the bull look smaller.
Secondly, as you can see in the picture of Mitchell above...he has certainly grown into his ring.
Mitchell's ring doesn't look so big now does it?
There are temporary bull rings that can just be clipped on for a show. There are a couple of reasons that we have chosen the permanent ring over the temporary ring.
A temporary nose ring is not comfortable for a bull...of course. Making a bull uncomfortable can sometimes lead to more volatile behavior. Besides, cows are smart. They will quickly learn when you are trying to clip on a temporary bull ring...and I wouldn't want to be around for that fight.
Secondly, if a temporary nose ring is used just for the show ring, there is not the added protection when you are handling the animal at home.
Since our nose rings are installed by a vet, the vet is able to sedate the bull while performing the simple procedure.
Of course, the bulls nose is going to be sore for a while. When Mitchell's nose ring was installed, he had a little trouble eating the first few days because the nose ring would rub on the bottom of the feed pan. It is expected that his tender nose would make eating uncomfortable.
However, it is just like when we get our ears pierced. It only hurts for a short time until the skin has healed around the jewelry.
As you can see above, Mitchell has no problems feeding his big old dirty face.
At least Apollo knows how to stay a little cleaner than Mitchell!
Apollo did really well this week with his procedure. He never went off feed and didn't even seem uncomfortable eating his dinner that night.
Apollo will be showing at the Ohio Beef Expo in just a few weeks, so we wanted to make sure he had some time to heal and get used to his new bling before the show.
Any bull that is staying a bull on our farm gets nose bling. It is better to install the bull ring when young, and you just never know what the show future holds. Not to mention, it is always a safer bet.
I think our guys look pretty cool with their nose bling.
They may look like big bad dudes...but we know they just want a little love and a back rub...and don't worry...they all get a lot of that around here.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.