Summer is the prime season to show off your livestock. Whether it’s for 4-H, FFA or just a breeder showing off a milking cow from their farm, getting your livestock ready for the big day takes a lot of preparation and dedication.
Cattle shows will have different classes based on the age of the animal, the breed and the show handler’s age. Typically, steers show only one season and heifers can show two. To find a local show in your area that fits your criteria, check with your local 4-H chapter and extension office. Once you know the date, you can start your year-long preparation process.
Preparation starts on your farm or ranch with the appearance and health of your calf. You want your calf to look fit and healthy. Design a custom feeding program to make sure it reaches the desired weight. Make sure you are rising your cows and heifers with cold water each day to help with quality hair growth. Also, use a skin-conditioning product to keep their skin smooth. A beautiful, healthy coat will make the cow/calf look healthier and have a better chance of catching the judge’s eye.
Slowly, start walking and leading your livestock until they can carry their head high and smoothly. Their walk should be graceful. After many training sessions working on leading and standing, your calf should know how to set itself up for the show. Also, introduce them to foreign environments or sounds so they can be used to them come show time. Make sure you are working with your livestock every day so you can get comfortable with them and they can be comfortable with you.
Confidence is key when it comes to show time. Work on standing tall, making eye contact and staying positive. You should be just as clean and crisp for the show as your calf. Proper attire is normally a nice white shirt, white pants and a belt. Make sure you know everything about your animal as the judges will ask questions.
Make sure you have everything you need when you arrive at the show. Your packing list should include: grooming tools, feed supplies, a general animal first-aid kit, general supplies like a water hose and rake and show equipment (your show stick, halter and lead ropes). Don’t forget about your own packing list that should include items like your show clothes, a human first-aid kit and paper work for registration.
When you enter the arena, be proud of the long hours and dedication you’ve put into the process. It isn’t an easy accomplishment and takes a lot of self-motivation, integrity and hard work.
If you are ready to own your own farm to raise livestock for show or need some extra land for your farm, contact one of our experts at United Country Real Estate to help you get started.