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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I recently had a discussion with a cattle rancher who said he is having his bull tested. We had a record cold spell back in January and February (Got down to 0 with 8 inches of snow and stayed below freezing for three days) here in Texas and he said that a number of ranchers are selling their bulls because the extreme cold caused them to go sterile and tests have confirmed it. I'm a little confused. I know some of you keep animals in much colder climates and I'm not aware that this has ever been an issue up north. However, we are not set up down here to house large numbers of livestock in barns over winter and most cattle are allowed to stay in the pasture all winter long. All my goats stayed in the barn during this cold spell and only came out at feeding time. My question is have any of you ever had a buck go sterile due to extreme cold? And if so, did they ever become fertile again? I'm a little nervous as I am due to have my next crop of kids due next month.
 

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Damage can most certainly occur if the buck is not provided adequate nutrition, warm bedding, and wind protection. Frostbite or any cold damage to the scrotum can cause temporary or permanent damage.

This does not mean animals must be locked up in a barn all day long, but they should have the options to choose adequate shelter when they want it.

This is also an example of when conformation is important. One (of many) reason that low hanging scrotums are not desirable is due to being at an increased risk of suffering damage from extreme cold because they are further from the body.

Keep in mind sperm quality will be reduced in cold weather. Therefore, tests shouldn’t be ran until the weather is warmer. Even then, if it isn’t breeding season and the buck isn’t in rut, the sperm quality won’t be at it’s peak. Injuries that cause infertility can heal, but it does take time.
 

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Well I’m with you and find it kinda odd since there is places up north that are much colder, and for longer, and they are not having fertility issues. Now it could be possible that is in fact the issue but I’m wondering if maybe the extreme cold has actually screwed with the grass the cows normally graze on and they are lacking something now. Some grasses and weeds, even trees have more or less of certain minerals then other types of forage.
But to answer your question if it is the cold no I don’t think they can come back from that. The testicles are damaged. But if it is in fact another factor then I say maybe probably could come back from it if it’s corrected. But who really wants to risk more feed into something that might be good?
But for you don’t stress about things that might be. If your concerned about the does you have being bred draw blood and find out for sure. If they are open then stress ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, I guess I'll just wait and see if I have any babies....Only bad thing is I will start breeding for a fall/winter crop soon and if it turns out that one or more of my bucks went sterile, I'm gonna be in a bind trying to find a new fertile buck as I would imagine most other goat farmers around would be dealing with the same issue. Who would have ever thought something like this could have happened? One thing about the goat business that is for certain is there is certainly uncertainty.
 

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Unsuccessfully breeding for fall kidding will not necessarily be a strong indicator that your buck could be infertile. Even boers who are suppose to be year-round breeders don’t always have the best spring/summer conception rates without added hormones.

Do you have access to a vet that could run a motility test this breeding season? It might ease your worries.
 
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