January is upon us, which in the show world means “The Majors” are here. Regardless of the species of livestock being shown there are a few things that can be done at home to minimize animal stress at shows. Keeping livestock eating and drinking at shows is by far the most challenging part of the show experience.
Familiarity with water buckets and feed pans is often over looked when it comes to show preparation. Most exhibitors make the mistake of wanting to take their “Sunday best” to the show. There is nothing wrong with that, but introduce the new buckets and feed pans a minimum of two weeks prior the show. Feed and water exclusively from the pan and water bucket to be used at the show during these two weeks.
Unless the animal requires it, do not limit water intake just because the bucket is smaller. Simulate the show experience as much as possible during your two week prep period. If showing cattle, feed and water tied up. Make this the only chance the cattle have at water, this will condition them to drink when they see there bucket coming. Sheep, Goats and Pigs should be fed and watered in the same manor.
Personally, we use the same feed pan that I feed our cattle in year round at the shows. Some 4-H and FFA chapters like to use matching buckets and pans. Again, no problem with that what so ever, just get your animals using them prior to the show. Any steps to bring a piece of home to the show will help to minimize the stress animals feel when heading to the big show.
Until next time good luck and show to win,