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Livestock Show Preparation

It's Showtime!

Spring has sprung, and that means show season! Livestock shows are a great opportunity to strut your stock and win awards for all your time and hard work spent raising quality, healthy cattle. Earning accolades at these shows can make your animals more attractive to buyers and breeders and help you drive a higher price. 

Showing cattle can also be a valuable experience for young people, teaching them organizational skills, self-confidence, good sportsmanship, responsibility, patience, and respect for both people and animals. 

Whatever your goals - to draw attention to your livestock, win a championship ribbon, or teach your young handlers some important life skills - you’ll need to put in the prep work to make sure your showing is a success. 

Read on for tips and suggestions on supplies, feed, and handling equipment to make this spring’s show season the best one yet. 

Show Supplies

In order to stand out in the ring, you need your animal looking sharp and ready to put its best hoof forward. Pre-show grooming should be meticulous, and should include carefully clipping and grooming their coat, making sure any white spots are as clean as they can be, and brushing their tail until it’s nice and fluffy. 

To achieve this show-ready look, you’ll need to put in plenty of practice time beforehand. Grooming a show animal can be challenging, and you don’t want to find yourself doing so for the first time at the event. 

You’ll also need the proper equipment, such as: 

  • Clippers: It’s wise to use multiple different sizes of clippers with a variety of attachments to make hard-to-reach places easier to groom. You might consider the Andis Freedom Cordless Clipper and its various blade sizes sold at Southern States. 
  • Blade Lubricant: It’ll be much easier to groom your show animal with properly maintained clipper blades. Trying to trim their coat with dull or unlubricated blades is a recipe for frustration for you and a bad hair day for them. Try Andis Blade Care Plus from Southern States. 
  • Blow Dryer: A blow dryer might be a staple in your bathroom that helps keep your hair glossy and voluminous, but you may not have thought of using it on your show cattle. However, it can help fluff up their coat and make clipping an easier task overall. The Weaver Leather Circuiteer II Hot Blow Dryer from Southern States is a great option for your show animal’s salon blow-out. 
  • Extension Cord: Make sure you bring an extension cord with plenty of extra length, since you don’t know how close to a power source you’ll be able to set up until you’re already at the event. 
  • Topline Brush: A stiff topline brush helps your show animal’s topline hair stand up straight and makes for more accurate clipping for you. And, for grooming touch ups, check out the Decker Touch-Up Grooming Brush from Southern States. 
  • Hair Adhesive: Just as you might use gel or another styling product on your own hair, using a hair adhesive on your show animal can make their coat much more manageable and easier to style. For medium hold and a natural look, try Weave Leather Stierwalt Medium Adhesive from Southern States. 

While we don’t want to emphasize good looks above all else, looks definitely do count when showing your livestock. Make sure to give yourself the best chance at a championship ribbon by grooming to perfection. 

Nutrition 

Proper cattle nutrition is just as important, if not more so, than your show animal’s appearance. Judges don’t expect just a well-groomed animal, they want to see that it is healthy too. 

With that in mind, it’s important to do your research and make sure you are feeding for optimal health and nutrition. 

These tips can help: 

  • Consistent feeding: Make sure you feed your cattles as close to the same time and same amount every day, and give them consistent access to clean water at all times. 
  • Better together: Cattle don’t like to eat alone, and will be more content eating with a buddy. Try setting up feeding bunks side by side but separated by a fence so that each animal gets the same amount to eat and can feel companionship while chowing down.
  •  Dig into feed details: They say you are what you eat, and to produce quality show animals, you need to invest in quality feed. Look at the fat, protein, and nutrient content of different feeds, and choose the one that will best support your specific goals for your animal. Southern States offers a wide variety of feeds and supplements sure to meet your needs. 

A lot goes into livestock showing, and the right feed and grooming equipment can help you build a solid base for a successful season. Practice your showmanship, use these tips, and set yourself up for an award-winning spring. 

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