The Herald (Harare)

14 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Harare Fails to Relieve Old Bulls

Harare City Council has not yet found replacements to relieve its aged pack of 54 overworked bulls two months after raising alarm. Management has already received the go-ahead to buy more bulls.

A check with officials revealed that council has not bought the 26 bulls it requested to complement the aged.

Council approved use of US$67 800 to buy younger and energetic bulls in November last year. The city has 54 bulls for 1 900 cows at the bull-to-cow ratio of one to 47.

The ratio was almost double the recommended figure of one bull to 25 cows. Harare Water, which manages city farms, had complained that the calving ratio had been reduced as the bulls were attending to more cows than required. Calving ratio had gone down by 50 percent. Each bull should attend to 25 cows. "The state of the bulls at the farms is no longer suitable for breeding, mainly due to old age.

"This has negatively affected the calving percentage, which has gone below 50 percent," read part of the report from Harare Water to the council.

City spokesman Mr Leslie Gwindi confirmed the bulls were still to be bought. He said the festive season had caused the delay. "We expect to get the bulls in the next two months," he said.

A Government veterinary officer Dr Charles Chikasha said the recommended bull to cow ratio was one as to 25. He said if a bull is given more cows its performance would be poor.

"Some cows on heat will go undetected," he said.

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