SUCCESSFUL FITTING AND GROOMING OF BEEF CATTLE Celina R. Johnson

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1 SUCCESSFUL FITTING AND GROOMING OF BEEF CATTLE Celina R. Johnson To be successful at fitting and grooming beef cattle for show requires hard work, dedication, and patience. Additionally, exhibitors must have an understanding of the anatomy of the beef animal and what the ideal market or breeding beef animal looks like. Figure 1 demonstrates the parts of the animal. Youth are encouraged to observe local, state, or national shows to determine what a great one looks like, relative to your type of animal. Figure 1. The parts of a beef animal. Poll Pin Bone Tailhead Rump Round (Quarter) Hip Bone (Hooks) Stifle Loin Back Side (Ribs) Shoulder Neck Hock Flank Forearm Brisket Knee Cannon Bone Pastern Animals need consistency in routines to maintain health and well-being. Once your calf is halter broke, it is important to tie your animal up daily, preferably out of direct sunlight to prevent the hair from becoming sun-damaged. If you do not have a barn, shady areas such as under large trees work very well. While tying your animal up, make sure to tie its head BUILD A MISTER SYSTEM! up similar to the desired showing height. This will Supplies: help to train the animal s muscles to hold the head Old, short garden hose up, preventing you from having to show a heavyheaded calf. Mister heads Hose clamps Hose cap Intense summer heat can cause your animal to reduce gain or feed intake. As a result, you should make sure calf is as cool as possible. At the very minimum, shade needs to be provided for your animal. A large fan can help as well. You can even build your own mister system if needed. Cut the hose into small sections. Place the mister heads between the sections of hose and use the clamps to tighten the hose onto the mister heads. Attach the cap at the end of the hose and you have a mister system!

2 Your daily routine should include feeding and watering your animal twice a day and daily exercise, cleaning, brushing, and showmanship practice. HAIR CARE: Your animal s hair coat will reflect the proper nutrition and grooming you provide your animal. By taking care of your animal and grooming it daily, your animal will be gentle and comfortable with the process prior to the show. Additionally, hair growth will be promoted and the hair can be trained so that when your animal is shown, it will be shown to the best of it s advantage. ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT FOR RINSING AND WASHING YOUR ANIMAL! Hose Rice Root Brush Scotch Comb Soap (mild soap such as dish soap is best) Plastic wash brush Training the hair is essential to having great hair at show time. It is especially important for cattle that have naturally curly hair (ex. Herefords). To be average, daily rinsing needs to be done a minimum of 2 months prior to the show. To be successful, daily rinsing needs to be done more than 2 months prior to the show. The following is an outline of the essential steps for daily rinsing or weekly washing of your animal. 1. Blow your animal s hair coat clean prior to washing. Remember, if it can be blown out, you won t need to spend as much time washing and rinsing it out! 2. When you first turn on the hose, let the water reach a normal temperature. During the summer, water that is left in the hose can be extremely hot and uncomfortable to your animal. 3. Allow your animal time to adjust to the water. Start with the feet and legs and work up the animal s body. You can wash your animals head, but AVOID GETTING WATER IN THEIR EARS! 4. If you are washing your animal, you can just hold the bottle at the tip of the hose nozzle and squirt the soap into the water stream. By mixing the soap with the water prior to applying it to your animal, it allows the soap to be evenly distributed and it rinses out easier. 5. Using the hard plastic wash brush, scrub the calf s entire body. Don t forget the hard to reach places like the belly, head, and tail! 6. Prior to rinsing the soap out of your calf s hair, use the plastic wash brush to brush the hair down. This will allow the soap and dirt to rinse out easier. 7. Completely rinse the animal s body. Soap residue dries the skin, causing dandruff, so it is important to get ALL THE SOAP OUT! 8. After your animal has been thoroughly rinsed, it s time to brush the hair to start training the hair to grow up and out. Use the rice root brush. The rice root brush is the best tool for training hair and is an essential piece of equipment.

3 9. The first step is to brush all the hair down and using the flat edge of the scotch comb, scrape the excess water out. This also gets all the hair initially going the same direction. 10. Figure 2 demonstrates the direction hair should be brushed on the legs and body. 11. It is also important to train the tailhead hair. This hair needs to be trained upward rather than forward as with the rest of the body. Figure 3 illustrates the method for training the tailhead. Figure 3. Direction to train the tailhead hair Part the hair here Figure 2. Direction to brush the hair after rinsing 12. You can brush your animal completely dry. If time is of an essence, brush your animal partially dry and complete the drying with the blower. When turning on the blower, make sure the nozzle is not pointed in the dirt (or else you have a dirty calf again). Start at the front of the calf and blow the hair forward, slowly working your way to the back of the calf. Blow the hair in the same direction you brushed it! Again, don t forget the legs and belly! 13. Once your calf is completely dry, it can be turned back out in its pen! HELPFUL HINTS FOR HAIR GROWTH! Apply hair conditioner that is diluted with water daily. A mix of water and vinegar can also simulate hair growth. The best method for stimulating hair growth is brushing with the rice root brush! CLIPPING (BLOCKING): There are several kinds and brands of clippers available. The following is a description of the purposes of the three basic types of clippers (see Figure 4 for pictures): Flat heads (beef heads or horse heads) These are flat clippers that are used to shave areas such as the head, brisket, and tail (not the tailhead or switch). Sheep heads these are a large set of clippers that have a tension adjustment knob. These clippers are used to clip large amounts of hair on the body, or for clipping legs on show day. They are not used for blending or detail clipping.

4 Small clippers Brands such as Oster or Andis make small clippers that are ideal for detail clipping. Figure 4. Examples of various types of clippers. Upper left flat head clippers (also called beef heads); above sheep head clippers; left small clippers for finishing touches. The key to successful clipping is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your animal. It is important to understand the anatomy of your animal. Your animals body is a series of valleys and hills. The goal of clipping is to use the valleys to fill in the weak areas and create a smooth appearance an minimize the hills as needed. MINIMUM CLIPPER REQUIREMENTS! If you are just getting started, you will need a set of FLAT HEAD CLIPPERS and a set of SMALL CLIPPERS to achieve the best results. Professionals use the SHEEP HEADS due to the volume of cattle being clipped. The majority of your clipping should be done prior to the show, while your calf is at home and in its comfortable environment. Clipping generally begins about 10 days to 2 weeks prior to the show. At the show, you should only need to do final touch up clipping and finish blocking the legs. Remember PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! Clipping an animal well takes a lot of practice, so practice on your animal well ahead of the show, to allow hair time to grow back. It is suggested to work every animal the same way, develop a system and follow it. It is best to start on the left side of the animal first, leaving the right side (the side the judge sees the most) until last. Figure 5 describes how to clip the various regions of the animal.

5 Clip the head close, using a downward motion from poll to nose. Create a smooth topline from poll through the tailhead. Minimize the shoulder by clipping it and blending with the neck. Blend the shoulder and topline with the body hair. You will want to leave as much hair as possible on the body to enhance the volume and capacity of the animal. From the rear, clip from the center out to enhance your animal s natural muscle. Clean up the brisket and in front of the sheath/navel. Leave some hair in the flank area to add depth to your animal. Like the topline, you want a smooth line from brisket to cod/udder. Figure 5. Clipping a beef animal. Tail (switch) should fill in the hollow here. Grasp tail at twist to begin clipping Clip up and out from Where your hand is holding the tail Don t clip the hair near the tailhead (dotted lines)

6 Show Box Checklist: Make a checklist before you start to gather equipment before the show. The following equipment is an example of what you will need in your show box and to take with you to the show! Feeding equipment: water bucket, feed pan, appropriate feed (enough for all the days of the show plus a couple extra, just in case) Washing equipment: hose and nozzle, wash bucket, scrub brush, soap Show equipment: adhesive, hair conditioners, adhesive remover, tail ties, scissors, show halter, show stick, show harness Miscellaneous: first-aid kit for you and animal, rubber mats NOTE: Some equipment such as paint, fans, blocking chutes, etc., may be banned from some shows. Please consult your premium book to determine what equipment you can bring!! NOTE: Some equipment such as paint, fans, blocking chutes, etc. may be banned from some shows. Consult your show s premium book to determine what equipment you can bring!!!

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