Effects of sequential or group exposure to unrestrained estrual females on expression of sexual behavior in sexually experienced beef bulls

J. D. Bailey, L. H. Anderson, K. K. Schillo

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4 Scopus citations


We tested the hypothesis that expression of sexual behavior in bulls is affected by the manner in which they are exposed to unrestrained, sexually receptive females. Twelve Angus bulls were used in a crossover design involving two treatments, each tested four times for a total of eight tests for each bull. Sexual interactions were quantified for each of four, 30-min periods under the following treatments: 1) exposure to each of four estrual females in sequence (SEQ); or 2) exposure to four estrual females as a group (GRP). Bulls were blocked into three testing groups, the order of which was stratified across eight test days. The order in which bulls were tested on a particular day had no effect on bulls' expression of mount interactions, or flehmen responses, suggesting that each group of bulls had similar sexual motivation at the beginning of each test. However, the bull testing order × treatment × time interaction influenced mounting interval (P = 0.08), copulation frequency (P < 0.05), and copulation success ratio (P < 0.05). When bulls were in GRP and tested first on test days, more (P < 0.05) copulations were distributed to the first three females encountered compared with either the fourth female (P < 0.05) or to each of the other females in SEQ (P < 0.05). During later tests, other bulls in GRP were not able to copulate as frequently (P < 0.05) with each female, displayed lower (P < 0.05) copulation success ratios, and were allowed copulations by fewer (P < 0.05) females during each 30-min test. When bulls were in SEQ, they displayed similar numbers of copulations regardless of the order in which they were tested, and had stable mounting intervals; however, copulation success ratio decreased (P < 0.05) more rapidly during subsequent tests. Flehmen responses were initially displayed more frequently (P < 0.05) when bulls were in GRP, but this effect diminished during subsequent 30-min tests. In conclusion, exposure of bulls to GRP induced greater sexual responsiveness than SEQ; however, this effect was due to enhanced sexual activity during the early stages of sexual encounters and with females that were not recently mated. Interestingly, bulls seem to repeatedly copulate with each individual female until, apparently, female sexual receptivity became attenuated. Thereafter, recently mated females allowed fewer episodes of repeated copulations, but they did not completely cease copulating with novel bulls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1811
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2005


  • Bulls
  • Coolidge Effect
  • Copulation
  • Intromission
  • Mounting
  • Serving Capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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