Now's the time to prepare animals for 2013 stock show season
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For more on the 2013 Victoria Livestock Show, go to victorialivestockshow.com.
The new year is more than about clean slates and resolutions. For the Crossroads agricultural community, it means stock show crunch time.
The Victoria Livestock Show spans Feb. 23 through March 4, according to the stock show website.
Jackie Parsons, with The Other Feed Store on Port Lavaca Highway, said that looming deadline has brought participants into her shop. While some go in to purchase supplies and others go in for advice, she said the staff helps however it can.
"We're going out with some of the kids who feed with us, checking their animals and making suggestions on feeding," she said. "We're getting them ready to go."
Here, those in the know share their tips for stock show prep.
Monitor the animals' diets
Now is the time to step back, look at an animal's weight and condition and determine whether it's time to cut back on food, increase it or even introduce supplements.
Care for the coat
It's important for an animal's hair and skin to be in good shape when they enter the ring. Know what's right for your animal. If you have lambs, for instance, keep them clipped and make sure their oils are good.
Know the basics, such as your animal's weight and breed. Once you get to the show, know which class you're in, as well as your schedule. You don't want to put in so much hard work throughout the year and then miss your chance to show.
Study up on showmanship
Work with your animals now to make sure your showmanship skills are show-ready. Know things like what you've done to care for your animal and what you've fed it and be prepared to answer the questions judges might ask.
Know your judge
Different people have different preferences, and judges are no different. Know who will judge your animal - that information is available through the county extension office or the show rule book - and know that judge's preferences.
Be travel ready if necessary
Those people participating in major stock shows in cities such as Houston and San Antonio should make sure they have everything they'll need once they reach the grounds. Preparing beforehand makes for an easier show experience.
When in doubt, ask
Caring for animals can be tricky, but help is available. Consider asking advice from feed store workers, veterinarians, family members and more. You can often build off their knowledge and learn from their mistakes.
Sources: Gary Loest, Victoria Livestock Show assistant general chairman and Jackie Parsons, with The Other Feed Store