PDCA - One Blog

Welcome to the first Dexter cattle blog to disseminate information for members of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America (PDCA) and for those with a curiosity about Irish Dexter cattle, cattle in general, as well as news from the PDCA. Expressions of opinion are to not be regarded as expressing the official opinion of the PDCA unless expressly stated. Hopefully you will find something here of interest and don't overlook browsing through the archives. Comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What is a Good Bull?

'Gertrude Stein, who specialized in phrases, had a famous line: "A rose is a rose, is a ROSE!"

It is about as explicit as the dictum that "the bull is half the herd and if he happens to be a poor one, he is all the herd." This is a recognition of the importance of the bull question, and a partial indication of its difficulty. The bull question might be answered by saying that a good bull in any herd is one whose progeny more nearly approaches the ideal of the breeder than did the females with which he was mated. This presupposes that the breeder has an ideal; if he does not, he may be on his way, but he is going nowhere.

First of all, it is important that the bull be prepotent, that is, that his progeny shall be at least more uniform than their dams and shall reflect his ancestry. It is important that they have vigor and stamina. It is important that along with the characteristics which are being sought by the breeder there shall not be hidden or recessive defects that are not wished or anticipated. It is fairly easy, for example, to increase milk production in all except the higher producing herds, and it is even easier to increase beef productiojn by the use of a bull chosen for one of these purposes. In doing these things, however, one may get in one case misshapen udders, droopy rumps, over-refinement or other undesirables. In the other case he may get such fleshing tendencies as to seriously lower milking ability and give the next generation such a poor start as to defeat the very purpose for which the beefy bull was used. Extremes tend to be self-limiting.'

What is a Good Bull?

'We shall have to paraphrase Gertrude Stein and say:

A bull is a bull, is a BULL!
He is if he is, if he IS!'

From "Dual-Purpose Cattle" by Claude H. Hinman

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