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Bull-bull mounts in Holstein bulls: a survey of its incidence, possible causes, and consequences in Uruguayan bull’ breeders

  • Fajardo, Stefanie1
  • Ungerfeld, Rodolfo1
  • 1 Departamento de Biociencias Veterinarias, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay
Published Article
Animal Reproduction
Colégio Brasileiro de Reprodução Animal
Publication Date
May 28, 2021
DOI: 10.1590/1984-3143-AR2020-0032
PMID: 34122649
PMCID: PMC8189349
PubMed Central
  • Original Article


Bulls frequently display male-male mounts, with consequences in the incidence of injuries, and possibly affecting the reproductive performance of the bulls. This behavior is known as the “buller syndrome” when appears in steers, with several individuals mounting one or a few penmates. The study aimed to collect information on the incidence of bull-bull mounts, the possible associated factors, the productive consequences, and management applied by distributing a survey to Holstein bull breeders in Uruguay. A survey was applied and responded by most Holstein breeders in Uruguay (30/33). Nineteen of the 30 breeders observed mounting behavior among bulls, and 15 of them considered it as a relevant problem. The breeders that observed the behavior had a greater number of bulls than those that did not observe it (P = 0.002). All of them observed that mounts were persistently directed towards the same individual (considering a specific period, while it remained in the group). Of these, 11 (58%) considered that this stopped only when the “buller” bull was removed from the group, mentioning that the behavior was frequently redirected to another individual. The mounts between bulls are a major problem in the breeding of Holstein bulls, with important consequences on weight gain and animal health, reproductive problems such as low libido and seminal quality, and even provoking the death of animals. Although not all breeders reported the existence of the problem, those with the bigger herds did. While some management and/or environmental conditions seem to influence (higher density, regrouping, managements that involve movement of animals, and spring) the incidence of bull-bull mounts, there are no standardized managements to avoid this behavior. Considering that most breeders were interested in including practices to minimize this problem if available, it would be essential to understand better the causes and predisposing factors to decrease its negative impacts.

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