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Raising Livestock for Showing


Coat care is of the utmost importance when showing cattle.Have you ever thought about raising cattle to show? Regardless of your age, showing cattle can be a rewarding and educational experience. Find out how you can succeed in the cattle show ring.

Setting Goals

Before you open that first show premium book you need to determine your cattle showing goals. "At the end of the show season do you want a market steer ready for slaughter, or are you raising a replacement heifer for your herd?" asks Karen Johnson, Southern States® Assistant Buyer of Agriculture Products. What you want to do with your animal after show season may play a factor in setting your goals.

Randy Johnson, Manager of Southern States Clark Co-Op (KY), shows cattle as a way to enhance his breeding stock and herd. "As a breeder I want my show heifers to become good cows to improve my stock," explains Randy. "While they may be on the show scene for 6-9 months, they will be broodcows for the rest of their lives."

Know Where to Show

Cattle shows have classes based on handler's age, animal's age and breed. You need to select your shows based on which of these criteria you and your animals meet. Karen says as a rule of thumb, steers show one season while heifers can show two seasons if they are born in September or later.

The internet has a wealth of information when it comes to finding cattle shows in your area. For junior shows, check with the local 4-H and FFA chapters. If you are showing in the open classes, check with your local extension office. "Your state extension office may also have a listing of all county fairs in your state," suggests Karen. Likewise if you belong to any cattle associations, they will have access to information about upcoming local, regional and national shows.

Show Preparation

Proper preparation of show cattle can make the difference between owning the blue ribbon calf and any other calf at the show. Here are some tips to prepare your next winner:

  • Halter Breaking. Patience is key in teaching your calf to respect the halter. Once he is used to the halter, slowly introduce tying him up. Ideally you should tie him up for 30 minutes to a few hours at a time when introducing this concept.

  • Teaching to Lead. Use the pressure and reward system. If your calf responds to the pressure on the rope, to move forward, reward him by releasing the pressure. Do not apply continuous pressure, remember to reward. Calves often learn how to lead in a week or so. Once your calf is comfortable leading in a small area, take him to a larger area to practice.

  • Ring Preparation. Train your calf to stand correctly, set the front feet in line with shoulders and back feet following suit. A show stick can help you achieve this training. After many training sessions your calf will know how to set himself up to be judged.

Importance of Coat Care

A good coat not only makes your calf look healthier and attract the judge's eye, but it also helps hide any structural imperfections your animal may have. "In general judges are looking for cattle to have ‘fluffy' hair that makes the animal appear larger than it is," notes Karen. To achieve the look the judges are looking for, comb your calf as much as possible. This extra TLC will not only help to calm your calf, but it will also keep his skin and hair coat healthy.

To improve hair coat you can also place your cattle under fans, the cool temperatures will help promote hair growth. Southern States also carries the Weaver Leather® Livestock Show Supplies line which can help you Make sure you have clear goals for your livestock when showing.condition and shine up your cattle's coats. Karen suggests using Pro Pink, Pro Charge Reconditioning Spray, Pro Charge Reconditioning Liquid and Pro Polish. Weaver Leather also has a great website that explains how to clip and prepare cattle's hair for show.

Feeding Your Calf

When entering the show ring you want your calf to look fit, not fat. Design your feed program to ensure your calf reaches his desired weight for the show. Southern States has a full line of Club Master Show Feeds for your show cattle and other show livestock.

Showmanship

Preparing for the show ring doesn't stop with your animal. You need to be as well prepared as your steer or heifer. At home set up a "show ring" in your pasture and practice, practice, practice. Both Karen and Randy agree that you should work with your animal everyday so you are comfortable around the animal and vice versa. Karen adds, "The easy part is winning in the show ring, all the hard work takes place at home."

For great rewards when showing your livestock, enroll in our Club Master customer rewards program.


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