A Guide to Show Cattle Nutrition

A Guide to Show Cattle Nutrition

Article and photos courtesy of BioZyme® Inc.

(SAINT JOSEPH, Mo., June 26, 2024) Show cattle nutrition is a lot more complex than taking a feed scoop and filling a feed pan. You want to make sure your show cattle have the balanced nutrition they need. A balanced show cattle ration includes protein, energy, fat, vitamins and minerals, fiber and supplements. Additionally, you will want to be sure they have ample fresh, clean water.

At Sure Champ®, we know that champions are made at home. That is why we created this guide specifically for show cattle nutrition. Our families are like yours; we want the best for our show calves from the time we bring them home until their final show.

How To Ensure Show Cattle Nutrition 

Here are 7 simple steps to follow as you prep to win.

1. Make Sure Your Calf is Healthy 

We know that health and nutrition go hand in hand. As your show season progresses with your calf, be sure to keep current on all vaccinations and keep your calf dewormed as the summer progresses.

Parasites are a reason that cattle will stop eating, and something as simple as a dewormer can prevent your calf from going off feed. You have the option of an injectable, oral or pour-on wormer. Choose one, treat all the calves the same and rest assured that they have been wormed.

If you do have to treat a calf, or even when you worm your calf, it is a good idea to give it a dose of Sure Champ® Appetite Plus Gel. Formerly known as Vita Charge Gel, this gel for all livestock is designed to provide immediate support to the animal’s digestive and immune system. It contains AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility and MOS (mannan oligosaccharides) to help normalize gut microflora and support the immune system. Appetite Plus Gel works fast to support appetite and hydration.

2. Provide Fresh Water 

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of clean, fresh water for your show cattle. Since water is the most vital nutrient to all livestock, it is important your calf has a constant, fresh, clean water source. Be sure it knows where the water tank is, so it doesn’t go without it and becomes dehydrated. If you tie in during the day, be sure to tie low, and provide drink opportunities thorough each day.

3. Feed the Ration Best for your Animal 

Just like there are numerous opinions about skin and hair techniques, there are just as many opinions about livestock feed rations. There are several factors to consider. First, determine your endpoint, especially with market animals, so you know how many pounds you need to gain per day to hit your target. Next, consider the nutrition program your animal needs and follow it. Do you have an animal that requires more protein and less energy? Increase the energy and decrease the carbs in its diet, accordingly.

4. Provide Good-quality Hay  

Keep free-choice hay available to your calf to keep fiber content up and its digestive tract healthy. Any animal that is on a grain-based ration should be fed grass hay, grass-hay blend or grain or forage hay. Don’t compromise the quality of hay, but don’t focus on feeding a forage high in protein like alfalfa. This is important because the calves are getting their protein from their grain ration.

In addition to aiding the digestive tract, free-choice hay will also help your calf alleviate stress. Eating hay gives it something to do during the day when it otherwise might get bored.

5. Provide Supplements 

One thing that cattle exhibitors often overlook is the need to provide supplements to their show animals. Salt is good to have out for them. It is also good to include VitaFerm® Stress Tubs in their runs. Formerly known as Vita Charge Stress Tub, the Stress Tubs are designed for cattle to support digestive health and intake. They contain Amaferm, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility, and MOS to help normalize gut microflora and support the immune system. The Stress Tubs also contain a probiotic to help restore the gut microbiome.

Sure Champ Supplements 

We offer two other supplements designed specifically for cattle exhibitors, Sure Champ® Cattle and Sure Champ® Cattle Drench.

Sure Champ Cattle is a pelleted, daily supplement with protein, vitamins and minerals for show livestock designed to support performance. It contains Amaferm, stimulates consistent appetite, and ensures that cattle receive adequate vitamins and minerals.

Sure Champ Cattle Drench is a drench for cattle designed to support digestive health before, during and after challenges. Formerly known as Vita Charge Cattle Drench, it contains enzymes that generate a more rapid digestive response. It also contains Amaferm and MOS (mannan oligosaccharides), which help normalize gut microflora and support the immune system.

6. Watch Your Calf Eat 

You can tell a lot about the health and nutrition of your show animal, just by observing it at feeding time.

Does it readily come to the feed bunk? Or is it hesitant to start eating? Does it eat quickly, licking the surface for more? Perhaps that is a sign that it isn’t getting enough to eat. Or perhaps you have a slow eater. Your animal doesn’t seem to want to eat. That could be a sign that it doesn’t feel well, is getting too much to eat or you simply need to back down on its ration.

Observation is critical during your feeding program. As always, if you make changes, and your steer or heifer still seems “off,” you will want to contact your veterinarian.

6. Be Consistent 

It’s best to keep your calf on the same feeding schedule each day, and typically about 12 hours apart. This allows for the microbial impact of the digestive tract to work properly, and it establishes behavioral patterns for your cattle. Feeding time is a good time to tell if calves are getting sick because if they don’t come up to eat, that is an indication they are not feeling well.

Make your Champions at Home  

Show cattle nutrition is an important part of reaching your goals. Nutrition combined with quality genetics and hard work, will help you make your champions at home. Optimizing your genetics with a quality ration fueled with Sure Champ is a great way to keep your animals eating, drinking and performing.

You can get your Sure Champ products as easily as ordering online today.

Do you prefer to support a local Sure Champ dealer? Find a dealer near you to find all your favorite Sure Champ and other BioZyme products.

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To read this and other educational articles, visit: https://surechamp.com/show-cattle-nutrition/

About BioZyme® Inc.

BioZyme Inc., founded in 1951, develops and manufactures natural, proprietary products focused on animal nutrition, health and microbiology. With a continued commitment to research, BioZyme offers a complete line of feed additives and high density, highly available vitamin, mineral, trace mineral and protein supplements for a variety of animals including cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, horses and dogs. BioZyme brands include AO-Biotics, VitaFerm®, Gain Smart®, Sure Champ®, Vitalize®, DuraFerm® and Backyard Boost®. With headquarters in St. Joseph, Missouri, the company reaches a global market of customers that stretches into countries across five continents. For more information about BioZyme, visit www.biozymeinc.com.

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