BY: Shayne White
With state fair coming to a close and school starting, life is beginning to slow down just a little bit. However; beef showmen will be getting their steers very soon. Whether you are new to cattle or are a veteran showman, here are some simple ideas to help you have a great year.
I have fed a variety of steers out from small calves that don’t like to gain weight, to big calves that gain 4 pounds just by breathing. I have found one thing that is consistent when feeding your calf to grow, which is feeding a textured feed. My personal favorite is the Honors Full Range which came out this year. I have fed different feeds within the Honors program but Full Range seemed to be the best combination. I liked it and would start any steer on this as you begin your feeding program. If you feed this grain with free choice grass hay, you have put your calf in a good position to grow and thrive.
Whether your calf comes halter broke or not, you need to make sure that they are comfortable having a halter on them. This will help the walking part go much smoother. To halter break, I suggest you take an old halter put it on your steer and allow them to walk with it on for a couple of days. You still need to go out there to hold the halter and make sure there are no safety concerns. Once the halter breaking process has occurred, it is time to teach them to walk. I like to do this with a helper. I start by grabbing the halter and trying to lead my steer while someone is walking behind them. I don’t want this to be a scary experience. Make sure you go slow and keep this a positive process. Halter breaking and being able to walk is key as it will be the starting point to how the rest of your year will go.
Everyone likes to have lots of hair on their cattle. The more hair the more fun it is to fit and clip them. To help your calf grow hair, brushing the hair in the correct direction and blowing out will be big helpers. Brushing and blowing your calf as often as you can will help the hair breath and keep it fresh. I try to do this at least 3 times per week in the beginning. I know keeping the hair fresh sounds strange but by pulling out all the dead hair, it allows healthy hair to grow in.
These are just some simple tips and ideas to help you kick start your year with your project. Good luck to you and have a great year of learning and showing.