Nutrition for Show Animals

When raising show stock, it’s important to meet your animals’ nutritional needs. Livestock reared for the show ring are performance-oriented animals. Therefore, they require optimum nutrition in order to unlock their full genetic potential. By providing high-quality nutrition, you can help your show stock reach and maintain a level of superior performance.

Before introducing any type of feed or supplement, it is crucial to set goals for your show stock. Having goals and pinpointing the purpose of your show animal can help determine the types of feedstuff you need to provide. Ask yourself what you would like the end point for your show stock to be in terms of date, weight, or condition. Are you rearing breeding stock or terminal animals for carcass quality? The type of show animal you have, be it a breeding animal or market, will definitively influence the types of feedstuff you need to offer.

An important rule of thumb to remember is that water is always the most important nutrient you can provide to your show animals. Water consumption can influence feed consumption, as well as affect their performance during changing seasons. Always offer water that is fresh and clean to livestock.

Remaining consistent in your feeding routine will result in consistent feed consumption. When selecting a feed for show animals, it’s important to choose a palatable feed that the animal will consume readily. In addition, the physical form of the feed can influence available nutrients.

While performance is crucial, it is also important to keep safety in mind. Achieving maximum growth must be done without sacrificing the animal’s health. Therefore, finding the right balance of nutrients in a feed is key. Maintaining this balance can provide your show stock with optimal growth of frame and structure along with desired carcass finish. For example, it would be silly to offer a finisher to a breeding animal. In some cases too much weight gain can be detrimental, but the animal must maintain a healthy weight in order to perform satisfactorily.

Pelleted feeds can be a good option for some species. During production, the raw ingredients of the feed are pressed through a dye and then cooked at high temperatures to form a pellet. The high temperatures lock in the available nutrients, making them more readily available as opposed to other feed forms. This aids in digestibility. In addition, pellets eliminate the ability for animals to sort feedstuffs.
In addition, pelleted feeds help minimize hay waste or wasted feed. Pellets also help to increase the flowability of feeder bins and handling equipment.

Stockdale’s recommends the following Co-op feeds for show animals:

Beef: 94910CO 15% Beef Show Feed and 422MA 11% Beef Show Finisher
Sheep: 93531CO Show Lamb Feed
Goat: 93326PE 17% Pelleted Show Goat Grower
Pig – 95002PE Show Pig Primer-DEN and 95003PE Show Pig Finisher-PAY

As always, consult your local Stockdale’s to find the right feed for your show operation and its needs!