Keeping your show cattle looking good in the winter should be a snap, right? Turn them out in the cold, and let their hair grow. However, the bitter cold combined with the harsh winds sucks the moisture from the animals’ hide, leading to unhealthy skin and dried out hair, if not properly cared for.
Especially if you are exhibiting at winter jackpots and beef expos, you will want your steer and heifers’ hair to look their best, so taking care of it is vital. Skin and hair care is different in the winter compared to the summer due to the amount of oil you need to put in and leave it to condition the skin.
“The cold weather just sucks the natural oils out of their skin. To keep oil in them and keep their hide and hair healthy, you need to blow oil into their hair, so it saturates their skin,” said Blaine Rodgers, BioZyme® Inc. Show Livestock Manager. “The oil will heat them up, so be cognizant of that if it is an unseasonably warm winter day.”
It is important to make sure to brush and blow the oils into the skin and hair so gets worked in and doesn’t just set there. The more it is worked in, the better it will condition, giving the animal a healthier appearance.
In addition to adding oil to the animal, Rodgers said you will likely want to alter your washing and rinsing schedule in the winter. He suggests rinsing periodically throughout the week. He said he only washes with soap once a week because the soap also dries out the skin. He continues to wash with cold water, like he does year-round, but he does heat his wash rack and barn to keep the animal comfortable while it is being washed.
“Consistency is the key. We want to keep the cattle comfortable, and we want to keep their hair healthy and growing without shedding out,” Rodgers said
With the natural hair cycle of growth during colder temperatures and shedding in the warmth, it is important to keep that in mind with the unreliable weather patterns that happen. If the weather is cold, Rodgers suggests keeping the cattle turned out. When it is sunny and warmer, he will bring them inside and put them under fans to keep them cooler to promote hair growth.
Additionally, he reminds that this is the time of year that lice and mange like to take over, and it is easier to be proactive than reactive. Treat your show cattle now with a pour-on or injectable to prevent these external parasites before they get on your calves.
“It is hard to catch up once the lice get on your calves and they start rubbing off hair,” he said.
The final part of the equation to giving your calf a healthy appearance on the outside is keeping them healthy on the inside. With more than 70% of their immunity found in the digestive system, a supplement from Sure Champ® with the precision prebiotic Amaferm® will help them feel their best and look their best.
Sure Champ Cattle is a pelleted, daily vitamin and mineral supplement for show cattle that can be top-dressed or mixed in a ration to improve digestive health, stimulate appetite and optimize health. Sure Champ Spark is available for all species to help drive appetite and maintain digestive health. Sure Champ Extreme also works to drive appetite and support digestive health across all species during extreme temperatures. Both Spark and Extreme contain Amaferm as well as biotin and zinc to promote healthy skin, hair and hooves
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and when it comes to showing cattle, their hair makes up a lot of that first impression. Keep your show steer and heifers’ hair healthy this winter with a few simple steps as you #PreptoWin and make that first impression count.