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Running with the Bulls

crazy_bulls

Bulls have a reputation for aggression, that is, at least in beef bulls, mostly undeserved.  There are a few beef bulls out there that would just as soon kill you as look at you, but for the most part, beef producers would really rather pick their fights someplace else.  (Dairy bulls are another story.  They’ll hunt you down like a dog.)
Most beef bulls are interested in exactly two things, food and cows, and even with that, they’re only interested in each cow for a period of about 18 hours every 21 days.  It’s not the most demanding job in the world.
There are a few reasons why most beef producers use docile bulls.  Most cow/calf operations, the ones that need to have bulls, are like ours – hands-on, family operations.  We need to be able to check fences, supply minerals and do our daily herd count without trying to dodge a crazy bull.  Docile bulls are more likely to stay where they belong, and they just make life more pleasant.  And just as important, docility is highly heritable – a quiet bull is far more likely to sire quiet calves than a crazy bull.  And it’s a plus for consumers, too.  Docility and meat quality are highly correlated.  (Yeah, we really do talk like that, but don’t tell anybody.)

Chunky and Hero, discussing whose turn it is to be aggressive.

Chunky and Hero, discussing whose turn it is to be aggressive.

When they do that whole “Running with the Bulls” thing in Pamplona, they do not use the same standards for bull selection that we use here on our farm.  I run just about every day, and here are some pictures I took while running with the bulls here at home.

I don’t think we’ll be making the nightly news.

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