Get them fat, and in a hurry! Whether you are showing cattle, hogs, sheep or goats in Texas you either already have shown, or you will be showing in the near future. Here at the store, the most common questions asked now is, “I am behind, how can I get more weight on and/or get them fat in a hurry?”
With the countless additives available for purchase to help promote fat in all classes of show projects, the easiest thing to do is dump a lot of high fat additive in the feed diet, and hope for the best. But as always with show projects, the easy thing to do is NOT the right thing to do.
Adding high fat supplements to the ration of a project can have a negative effect if not done properly. Most of today’s finishing rations for show projects are formulated with almost as much fat as the animal can handle. For example the majority of cattle show finishing rations is formulated with a fat rate of 4.5-5% already. Cattle can handle about 6% total fat in a ration before it starts to have a negative effect on rumen health. That does not leave you a lot of room for added fat in the form of a supplement.
We have used fat supplements and done so successfully, the key is making sure you do not over load the animal on total fat in the diet. The most common sign that you have exceeded the amount of fat the animal can handle in the diet is scours and loss of appetite. Once you reach the point of loss of appetite, it can be a time frame of 1-2 weeks before the animal will return to full feed. The moral of the story is: pushing an animal on an extremely high fat diet can have a negative effect, and actually reverse the progress you are trying to make.
My suggestions are to start cattle, goats, sheep and hogs on finishing rations a little sooner than you might think you need to. We can always increase the protein levels to help burn fat in a project easier than we can increase the fat.
Good luck and show to win.