The Most Successful Feeders Have These 3 Things in Common

feeding goals show pig Oct 12, 2021

When it comes to showing livestock, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and grind. From the time entries are made until the trailer is loaded for the show, it seems there are millions of details that require our attention.  On a daily basis, we're evaluating, making adjustments, and doing our best to follow through on getting the work done.  It can be easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture. 

The families that have the most success in the show ring keep their focus throughout the course of the season. And, while every season has its ups and downs, the best feeders arrive at the backdrop time after time because they have these three things in common; they set clear and measurable goals, they are hyper-focused on animal health, and they find ways to keep it fun. 

GOALS: The best feeders set clear and measurable goals, but they don't just focus on ribbons and banners, their goals reach beyond the show ring. It's easy to say "We want to win our class", or "I want to win showmanship", or "We're going to win Grand Champion", but wins in the show ring shouldn't be the only metric which defines the success of your project. 

"Wins in the show ring shouldn't be the only metric which defines the success of your project." 

The most successful feeders create goals that align with where they're at in the learning process, the age of the exhibitors, and how they want to grow together as a family through the course of the project. 

In Principles of Show Pig SuccessBrent "Boots" Boland says "The most successful families I work with work hard to set goals and they usually have their goals on display in the barn to remind them each day where their focus should be." 

HEALTH: For as much as we hear about the hottest new feed additives when we go to shows or supply stores,  the best feeders don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about them. Sure, they learn about them, and they sure enough feed some of them, but they don't lose any sleep over whether or not they should have used a little more of this or that. What they do lose sleep over, however,  is animal health. If an animal isn't feeling well, it's not able to perform to its true genetic potential. And, if an animal isn't able to perform to its true genetic potential, there's no show feed in the world that can make up for it.  

"I have no doubt that animal health is the foundation of a successful project." - Todd Price, DVM

In The Showman's Guide to Show Pig HealthTodd Price, DVM says "I have no doubt that animal health is the foundation of a successful project."  To be competitive, we need our show animals to eat, grow, and gain, and if they aren't feeling well, that simply won't happen.  "Every year I tell people, there are more championships lost to health concerns than any other issue," says Price.

Every great livestock show family understands the importance of animal health. In fact, you might not think of it this way, but almost everything we do in the show barn is intended to promote animal health. Here's one example; We tend to recognize clean pens promote healthy skin and hair, but also when we clean those pens we're providing a comfortable, dry place for our animals to lay and ensuring air quality in our barns at the same time - those are two huge components of animal health.  The same can be said of dozens of other show barn activities from the way our show feeds are formulated to checking the barn morning and night. It's all about health, and the great feeders know it. 

[Don't leave your show pig health to chance. Get The Showman's Guide to Show Pig Health today!] 

KEEP IT FUN: The third thing the most successful feeders have in common is that they keep the project fun. We can get awful serious about making sure the work is done. We can have arguments with our brothers and sisters, and moms and dads, and nieces and nephews, but at the end of the day, if these projects are fun, our families will want to keep coming back to the barn.

"When the best feeders aren't meeting their goals in the show ring, they focus on building relationships, learning from their mistakes, and applying positivity to the situation." 

The best feeders find ways to keep the project enjoyable and engaging when things aren't going well. When they're not meeting their goals in the show ring, or their animals fall off track from a health standpoint, they focus on building relationships, learning from their mistakes, and applying positivity to the situation. 

Feeding and showing livestock should be fun. If we work hard to make it fun, our families will want to go to more shows, they'll want to be more involved in the project, and they'll want to take advantage of all of the other opportunities that come along with showing livestock. When this happens, we're doing the job we're supposed to be doing with these projects, which is growing young people into exceptional adults.  

Goals, health, and fun are the keys to achieving success with your livestock project. As they intertwine throughout the season, they'll define how successful you'll be this year. If you're loading the show barn for fall, take some time to think about these three areas of your project, talk through them with your family, and create an action plan for how you'll evaluate your progress. See you at the backdrop! - BJE offers video-based online courses in showing livestock, taught by the industry’s most talented breeders and feeders. We're here to help you win - in the show ring and beyond. 

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