Preparing for Junior Nationals: Hair Care, Heat Stress, Feeding, Supplements, and Travel Tips

Animal : Cattle

Kirk Stierwalt,

Honor® Show Ambassador

With Junior Nationals right around the corner, it’s make-it or break-it time. Purina Cattle Ambassador, Kirk Steirwalt shared some insight into these crucial next few weeks in order to prepare your cattle.

Honoring Hair Care

To facilitate new growth after the spring shed, daily rinsings and weekly washings are essential. Additionally, working with the hair, utilizing grooming products, ensuring fans and airflow, maintaining clean bedding, controlling flies, and providing shade are crucial steps in preparing your animal's hair for Junior Nationals.

Honoring your Feeding Routine

Have you noticed the days are getting longer? Your cattle definitely have. Did you know Daylight Savings Time and longer daylight hours can impact feeding times? It's important to avoid feeding during the hottest part of the day to encourage a healthy appetite. Typically, early morning and evening are the best times to feed, and this schedule should be followed during Junior Nationals as well, to keep your cattle's routine consistent.

As the show approaches, ration changes may be necessary, and these can vary based on the cattle. A high-fiber diet is crucial for preparing them for travel. Adding plenty of grass hay and incorporating products like Ultra Full, Depth Charge, and Precon into the ration can be beneficial. Alleviate is a must for aiding in gut health, managing diarrhea, stress, and pH balance. These measures also contribute to consistent manure consistency during and after travel.

Honoring Supplements

When it comes to enhancing your cattle's appearance, supplements can be advantageous. These feed-through additions can improve their overall look, but it's important to give them time to work. Make any changes to their ration gradually. Taking weekly pictures of your cattle can help you notice any changes. The specific supplements needed can vary depending on the individual animals, but electrolytes like Refresh, gut health supplements like Alleviate, pH balancers for travel and shows, and joint supplements like Superflex can be beneficial.

Honoring Travel

Minimizing stress during travel is paramount. It's recommended to heavily bed the trailer with shavings a few days before departure. Wetting the bedding daily helps pack it down and keeps it moist, creating a solid but shock-absorbing base for the cattle. Wet shavings, combined with airflow during travel, provide a comfortable trailering environment.

Whenever possible, opt for traveling at night or early morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures. If the distance is significant, consider breaking up the trip and providing overnight rest for the cattle at friends' places or fairgrounds.

The Junior Nationals season is an incredible experience where breed families come together. Whether it's your first or final Junior Nationals, there's something for everyone, including showing, salesmanship, showmanship, and team-fitting competitions. The camaraderie and fellowship among participants, kids meeting other kids, parents connecting with other parents, and breeders interacting with fellow breeders make these events truly enjoyable.

It's an opportunity to showcase the breed, raise breed awareness, become familiar with breed associations and advisor boards, and, most importantly, nurture young adults and families involved in livestock. These events help develop skills in dealing with success, disappointments, hard work, and the ability to dream big!

Good luck at the shows and travel safely!