What happens when a 1700-pound bull has too much to drink and turns nasty?

That has been the problem for Irish vets in recent weeks with reports of drunken bulls surfacing in the Irish Times.

It appears the cheap price of potatoes is the problem, with farmers feeding pulp potatoes to their bulls.

But the bull’s stomach ferments the potatoes and turns them into alcohol, leaving the bull drunk on his very own moonshine or poteen.

Meath-based veterinarian Peadar O’Scanaill, told the Times it was becoming a real problem.

“The rumen (stomach) of a bull is a large fermentation vat where the starch of the potatoes mixed with its sugars, turns into alcohol,” he said.

“In the first case I dealt with, I was called out when the bull had fallen on his side and was badly bloated. The rumen could not handle the change of diet and normal gas release did not happen,” he said.
“He was drunk or very badly hungover or both and I had to put a tube down the nose to release the gas pressure on the rumen.”

The second bull had broken into a potato shed and ate all around him and got loaded when a potato stuck in his throat stopping the release of gas. The vet removed the potato and the gas was released.

O’Scanaill warns that farmers have to be careful. "... With potatoes you have to be very careful, as I know,” he said.