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Mar 28, 2009
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These are my show heifers for this year. The first is a registered Hereford and the second is a simm x. The third is my steer he is a purebred shorthorn. All 3 are around 13 months old. Please be very critical I am trying to learn as much as I can about what to look for in show cattle.





actually my steer is about 12 months old in these his dad is Double Stuff


You asked us to be very critical so here it is, and please dont get offended by what I am going to say.

The first hereford heifer looks to be a framey girl, but my biggest criticism of her is that she shows little to no natural muscling. I know we are talking about a heifer not a steer or bull, and that some people get carried away with too much muscle on heifers, but I expect my females to show some natural muscle expression, generally they will show it by 5 to 6 mths old, and you can always tell natural muscle expression in animals, even if they have done it a bit tough and havent been on feed. Looking at this heifer she has no butt, and no eye muscle. Heifers like this also tend to be hard doers - they lack that easy fleshing ability and that means that she will need more feed than others to keep up to the desired body condition score. This has problems later on, when she is a reproducing cow she is gonna take more feed to maintain her own body, grow a calf and lactate at the same time. Often times those hard doers are the ones that struggle to breed back in time with the rest of the herd, and have an extended inter calving period. One other thing that concerns me about this heifer is her hind leg structure - it may be just the way she's standing but in the side view she appears to be slightly weak in the pastern, and the hind view she appears slightly cow hocked. Note that I say slightly - and it is certainly not to the extent that I would cull her

The good things about this heifer - she's big, framey and growthy. She's plenty feminine, with a nice neck and well laid in shoulder. She's got a pretty good pelvis - nice length from hip to pin and a slight angle down from hip to pin - makes for easier calving. She's a nice long heifer but she could benefit from a bit more depth and spring of rib.

The simm x (I'm guessing hford?) carries more of that natural muscling than the hford heifer - you can see that both in the side and rear views, and thats good. She doesnt go overboard with it and still retains her femininity. I guess two things stand out for me with this heifer: firstly the rear leg structure - I am worried that this heifer appears to be post legged. This is a fault that affects longevity - over time her hock joints will be subject to more pressure than if they were correctly angulated, and with carrying her weight and the weight of the bull when he mounts her, she will break down earlier than a cow with sound hind legs. The other thing I'd really like to improve on this heifer is her capacity - she appears to be a smaller heifer than the other, and thats okay but I'd like to see more depth of barrel, more spring of rib, less restriction through the heart girth.

Having said all that, these heifers are a fine way to start off. They are certainly not going to be show winners, but I've seen people start off with much poorer quality. They look like they need to be put onto a good feed - grain and hay - they are very green at the moment. Also just another tip, their halters are a bit big for them, the noseband is too far down the nose. Best way to describe it is where the top of the nose band is now, is where the bottom should be, particularly the simmx heifer.

I am assuming here you are intending to breed on with these heifers and start your own herd, they are a good base to start with. Keep in mind there are three key areas when you are judging cattle - show or home. Firstly and foremostly - structural soundness - things like correct angulation of the legs and the topline. This is just so so important and needs to be on the top of your list. Secondly, reproductive ability - in heifers we are talking here about femininity, long necks, well laid in shoulders, large pelvic capacity, length from hip to pin, width between hips and width between pins, slight angle from hip to pin, good vulva development, good udder development with lots of skin folds. In cows we can start looking at udder structure and sappy calves, as well as the aforementioned things. In bulls you can look for masculinity, good shoulders, good pelvis, scrotal circumference, even scrotum, tight sheath. The third area to look at is carcase attributes - that easy fleshing ability, natural muscling, thickness over the top line, wide stance at the back, good butt, moderate fat cover, soft rolling skin and soft hair.

As for the steer - he is reasonable. Although the pictures make it awfully difficult to tell, he seems to show quite a bit of thickness and muscling, and he's got really good bone. I'd like to lay my hands on him to see whats under all that hair, and assess how much finish (fat) he has, because that view of the front looks like he may be laying down some fat in the brisket - if so, he might be getting a little wastey.

Keep us updated with new photos, and let us know how you go showing them! Good luck :D and have fun :banana:
I think that Keren is right about the hereford heifer. She really doesn't look to have that natural muscling and it takes a lot of work to get animals like that up to show standard.

The Simmental X I dont think is post legged, looking at the photo she seems to be standing up hill so its natural for her to have her hind legs a little was back. She has better muscling thank the hereford (simmentals are normally nicely muscled animals where as herefords seem to hang on to their old style shape... please don't hurt me hereford fans :oops: ).

The Shorthorn steer is not bad for his age. He has a lovely amount of hair to work with so make sure you take full advantage of that. I'm pretty bias when it comes to Shorthorns to be honest. Initially I didn't like how high he was in the flank but after looking at the other 2 pictures he looks fine. His hind picture shows plenty of room to grow. Feed him up and he will be nice :)
OK, really the only thing that i have to say bout them is THEY NEED SOME FEED! But sayin that i think that you will have a very nice steer prospect this year, and he has very nice hair! Good luck this year! :cboy:
Thanks keren i appreciate not sugar coating them. These are my first two heifers I have ever raised and i have a much better idea of what to look for now. :cboy:
did you breed them yourself, or did you pick them out when they were younger and raise them from that?

they are a fine start, trust me I've seen people start off with much worse! I started off with some pretty ordinary cattle and goats ...
I bought all three at the WV Feeder Calf sale in Sept. 2008, with the money i have earned from my pigs and goats. they all place pretty well there. I will show the heifers at a state show and my county show. And the steer is just for the county show
because he is my 4h project and we have a big sale afterwards and i will get more for him there
Keren gave you some very good info. A big part in getting them ready to show is the amount of finish you put on them. You really need to pour the feed to them. When you are ready to bread those heifers keep them in the "up" condition. Once you start lowering their feed intake it get's really hard to get fat heifers to settle. In a sense their body starts telling them not to settle b/c they are losing a little weight. I hope this makes sense! Just keep show heifers in show condition until they are about 3 - 4 weeks settled. Then you can gradually lower their grain consumption.

Sometimes buyers will let you keep your steer for a short time after a sale to show at another show.

Congrats and good luck!!
Did you worm the heifers since you bought them? That might help put weight on the heifers along with feed like others have said. The steer looks ok. When are your shows? They all look nice and calm. Good luck with them.
I will show the heifers the last two weeks of July and my steer the last week of July I also show my goats and pigs there too.
If you're gonna show clubby calves like the ones out of Double Stuff, pretty much every breed besides Chi, Maine, Shorthorn, and some Simmental isn't Grand Champion material. Yes, you can show any breed, but county and state fair stuff is mainly out of the above breeds. The main things you need to select for in club calves, particularly terminal ones, is width, muscle, bone, balance, and HAIR. The show ring ain't real world, so the more hair the better. Find an experienced showman to help you pick calves and help teach you how to train hair, feed, and show. Nothing like firsthand experience from someone who's done it before.