Routine Fertility Visits

Routine Dairy Fertility Visits

Most of our dairy clients choose to have a regular fertility visit either weekly or once a fortnight with a designated vet. If the farms are organised, it is the most cost-effective way of examining many animals in one visit. Scanning information is entered on farm onto Vetimpress system on farm, Fertility reports including treatments follow ups required and body condition score are emailed or posted to farmer after the visit. Benefits include:

– Pregnancy diagnosis (PD)
– Reducing Calving Interval
– Diagnosis of Uterine infections
– Diagnosis of Cystic/Non-Cystic cows

– Herd health discussion
– Synchronising groups of heifers and cows
– Youngstock checks
– SCC and Mastitis monthly reviews

We, therefore, ask for certain animals to be presented for us. PD cows >30 days, Non-Seen Bullers (NSB) and Post Natal Checks >21 days calved (PNC).

Ultrasounds scan 45 day pregnancy

Ultrasound scan cystic ovary

Bull Fertility Testing

Keeping a defective bull can be a costly business. Figures from the SAC show that the average cost of keeping a bull is about £1000 per year. While complete infertility of bulls is rare, sub-fertile bulls are common (approximately 20% of bulls tested are sub-fertile). A sub-fertile bull will get some animals pregnant, but it will take several services and therefore more time.

A sub-fertile bull is more likely to have empty females at the end of the breeding season and will also lead to a spread out calving pattern. Farmers will focus lots on individual cow fertility but it is important that the bull is not ignored. The Bull Breeding Soundness is best carried out 4-6 weeks prior to the service period allows a proactive approach to screening out sub-fertile bulls. Our advice would be that all bulls you intend to use should be tested, plus any new arrivals. This really should be regular annual routine on dairy and beef herds and will give you valuable information and predication on how your bulls will breed this year.  The best time to test is about 4-6 weeks before mating begins, this allows time for any re-tests or more importantly time to find replacements, or juggle around the mating groups if any bulls are identified as sub-fertile. Pre-sale fertility testing can also be carried out.

Checklist on Day of Testing

–  Bull has not been with any cows in last 24-48 hours(to maximise sample quality)
–  A crush/race with side access to the bull.
–  A power point and sheltered area (keeping the samples warm is vital) with table or bench

The Procedure

Electro-ejaculation is carried out by one of our vets. This is standard method of semen collection and the procedure is relatively quick (about 60 minutes) and safe providing an appropriate crush is available. The majority of the semen evaluation is carried out on farm giving you a quick idea as to the ability of your bull. The remainder is done in our own lab giving you a quick turn-around of results. We do not require the use of teaser cows for sample collection, only a side access crush.

Before entering the crush, the bull’s mobility is observed. His feet are inspected when in the crush. He gets a full clinical examination of external and internal sexual organs and the size of the testicles is measured. This reflects directly on the quantity of the semen. After manual stimulation of the internal sexual organs, a probe is inserted and gentle electro-stimulation is applied until ejaculation occurs. The semen is scored for volume, concentration and contamination before being examined under a microscope. All this takes place on-farm. Under the heated microscope, the sample is examined for gross motility and motility of individual sperm cells. A sample of the sperm cells is stained and back at the surgery the sperm cells will be examined.

An annual bull fertility check can be very beneficial, as bulls can become sub-fertile at a later age. Most farms spend a lot of time and money checking their cows’ fertility, so why not also pay attention to their bulls’ fertility, which is equally vital?






For emergencies please call: 028 4066 2334

At Iveagh Vets, we have been providing veterinary care in Banbridge and throughout County Down for over 60 years.


Iveagh Veterinary Surgery
30 Arderys Lane
BT32 3RF


Practice Opening Hours

Monday - Friday
8:30am - 6:00pm

8.30am - 1:00pm

Closed (emergency service only)

Consultations by appointment