Summer is drawing to an end and for many this means transitioning from summer shows to the fall majors and state fairs. Changes in temperature and hair cycles can make it challenging to get the hair coat you want. There are many factors that go into a healthy hair coat that we can’t control, such as genetics and daylight. However, there are quite a few factors that are in our control, such as temperature, daily hair care and nutritional plane.
Temperature: Cold weather causes hair to stimulate and grow. It is a natural instinct for cattle to want to grow hair in defense of cold weather conditions. While we can’t directly tell mother nature what to deliver each day, we can manipulate the temperature in our barns to keep calves cool. Whether or not you have an elaborate cooler system or not, air flow is key. Fans and misting systems that keep cool air in circulation are key. It will also help to keep calves in a darker area during the day and turn out after dark at night to simulate cooler weather and winter time.
Daily hair care: Daily hair care is the factor directly in our control that is so important. It doesn’t matter how cool you keep it in your barn, if you don’t have a daily hair care routine, hair won’t grow. When starting a hair cycle over, it is important to get all the old, dead hair out. You can do this in one of two ways; shear their hair off or utilize a shedding comb. A typical hair cycle is 90-120 days, so plan accordingly for your endpoint. Once the dead hair is gone you should work to establish a daily routine. Start with rinsing your calf with cool water at least one time a day and brushing them dry with a rice root or plastic brush under fans. With such little hair, it won’t be necessary to blow them dry at first, so start with brushing LOTS to stimulate hair follicles. Because you are rinsing and brushing so often, some of the natural oils of the skin and hair will be lost. Blowing in a light oil or sheen will help to re-establish these natural oils and keep the skin healthy and not flaky.
Nutrition: The nutritional plane of an animal as it relates to hair growth and care is one of the most overlooked factors. Following a good nutrition program will make sure your cattle get the vitamins and minerals they need to grow a healthy hair coat. Make sure your animals are getting a good vitamin or mineral supplement like Sure Champ Extreme with Climate Control, which contains Biotin to help promote the skin and hair quality of your animals. Biotin directly helps to improve keratin structure, with is the basic protein in hair and nails. Many livestock exhibitors also offer melatonin in their feed, which also helps the hair grow.
Ditch the old coat. Rinse and condition. Brush. Sheen. Keep it cool. Feed Sure Champ, and REPEAT!