The bull, the indomitable animal, fierce and robust than is seen in bullfights, walks with several years of breeding and dedication hosted in the best herds of Spain.
It all starts with the mating, the process by which future calves are conceived. Mating is carefully planned by cattle ranchers for the birth matches a season rich in resources. Mating is usually performed by natural mating: a stallion, chosen for that purpose, lives for a time with a group of cows. Gestation is extended to 280 days.
Similarly, the birth of the ruminant is also natural. Generally, the mother moves away from the herd, in search of a protected refuge. After delivery, the cow licks the calf carefully, stimulating blood circulation of the newborn. When the calf manages to stand up, it starts feeding on breast milk.
The first few weeks pass under the protective umbrella of the mother, in the period that we call nursing. By the fourth or fifth week, the calf begins to develop the digestive system, contributing to the first intake of grass. From the following day, will magnify the calf food necessities, and therefore the mother dependence will be less.
Although the calf’s weaning can vary by several months, according to different factors, usually occurs around the sixth month of life. That is when the calf is separated permanently from his mother and begins to develop the future bull.
Between 7 and 11 months of age, is performed the procedure known as branding. It is the individual identification and defining of the calf, which occurs in the presence of veterinarians and municipal authorities. It’s a really serious job due to its legal significance.
Subsequently, the calves are divided by gender and age. It begins a process known as rebreeding in which the animal develops with abundant food and begins to take shape the first notions of territoriality. The bulls live in herds, away from any female, within the broad and fertile meadows. In these spacious grounds filled with pasture calves enjoy freedom.
In this first year of age, the bull is called “añojo”. Yet enjoys an infantile behavior, but suffers the first hormonal changes that promote secondary sexual characteristics.
With two years, the animals are called “erales”. At this stage is distinguished the growth of bull. Furthermore, highlights group behavior in which the bulls are twinned with each other.
In the third year, when they are called “utreros”, the muscle power is stabilized in cattle. Also they starring sexual games, disputes and fights between them, consolidating the herd hierarchy.
In this regard, have to be considered that the bull is similar in their behavior that of other wild ruminants. Within the herd, usually highlighting a dominant bull, stronger, braver, and abusive and dominating to others. Occasionally, the dominant bull can be challenged.
A bull that has been defeated in a fight is now called “toro abochornado”. It is often attacked and persecuted by others, being away from the bullfighter and becoming lonely, irascible and very dangerous.
We should also mention that in the absence of females in the herd, bulls quench their sexual appetite being assembled to one another.
After the age of four years, the bulls are ready to deal in the square. However, they must first go through a very important operation which tests the strength and bravery of the bull. It is called la tienta.
It takes place in the “plaza de tientas” of the cattle, intended for that purpose. In it, the bull is subjected to a picador’s “puya” and harassment and demolition. In this process you should prevent that the bull learns something and he can use it in the final fight against the matador. For this reason, and not generally used “muletas” or “capotes”.
If the bull passes the test, then he will be taken after the plaza. There demonstrate their bravery under the standing ovation, showing if the years spent by cattle have done some good or not.