When you have a passion for your industry, you’ll go to great lengths to make sure you are an active participant. Even if that means driving 20 to 30 hours across the country with a load of animals to show livestock. With a vast number of major stock shows and junior nationals in the Midwest, those on either coast are accustomed to hauling their stock for long periods of time, and there is a method to getting them and their animals to their destination and healthy.
Reducing stress and hauling them on an empty stomach are two of the tips that Garrett Blanchard, Silveira Bros., Firebaugh, Calif., has found useful. He said the day before a long trip he lets his cattle rest and typically only offers them hay and water, not the usual grain diet they are accustomed to.
“I don’t mess with them much the day before we leave, knowing they are going to be on the trailer for two days. I also like to haul on an empty stomach. They travel better, and their gut doesn’t get all turned upside down, and on the ride as well, we give them lots of hay, but no grain,” Blanchard said.
He also prepares their system against any bugs they might encounter and gives them a dose of intranasal, respiratory vaccine so to help prevent sickness on the way.
The trip to the National Western Stock Show in Denver is roughly 22-23 hours. Blanchard said for that amount of time he will load his cattle on the semi, let them run loose so they can lay down and provide them plenty of hay while on the way. If a trip is longer than 30 hours, he will typically find a place to layover, let the cattle unload and rest about half-way, especially for summer shows when the need to hydrate is greater.
Once he arrives at his show destination, Blanchard will get his cattle unloaded and settled, preferably in tie-outs, make sure they have plenty of hay and water, and typically give them a half-feeding for their first feeding off the trailer. Depending on the temperature difference from home to his destination, he offers them Vita Charge® Climate Control Gel to help keep them on feed and water, and heIps them maintain their normal body temperature.
“I don’t lay over on my way to Denver to put fill on my cattle. We are in Denver so long before they show, they have time to fill up and get to feeling better. It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Blanchard said.
Another tip from Blanchard is to always offer your cattle cool, fresh water. Since the shows are located in cities with city-treated water, you might want to include Vita Charge® Liquid Boost® in their water to help promote water . Many livestock exhibitors start using the Liquid Boost in their water two to three days before leaving home to get their livestock accustomed to the berry flavor. That flavoring helps mask the mask the chemical taste of the water at the show. Just like Climate Control, Liquid Boost contains Amaferm® to maintain gut health and appetite during times of stress and recovery to help boost immunity, naturally.
When your passion takes you half-way across the country and you rely on your livestock to stay in tip-top shape after the long haul, make sure you have the resources they need to stay healthy, eating and drinking on the road.