Welcome to The Blue Ribbon - Youth Livestock Projects blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide information, advice and suggestions for improving youth livestock projects from multiple sources. The information, advice and suggestions in this blog come from professional agricultural educators who have multiple years of experience working with youth and their livestock projects. If you ever have a question or a particular subject you would like addressed, please feel free to contact Scott Stinnett via email, or leave a comment and we will do our best to assist or address the subject. Should the question or subject be more technical, we will help direct you to an appropriate resource for the best possible answer.

Thank you,

Scott Stinnett and The Blue Ribbon Contributors

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What's in My Show Box - Lambs

     Showing lambs seems like it should be pretty simple. They are shown slick sheared and without any kind of tack. The reality is, to be ready to show a lamb, a lot of effort and grooming goes into making them presentable and show ready. There are a few things that are necessary and used every show day.

     Here is my packing list of items to take to the show for one lamb and the reason why I take them.

Halters and Tack
  • 1 Rope Halter - This is the one used everyday to walk and exercise your lamb. I like the ones that have a snap hook on the end so I can quickly hook and unhook them to a fence.
  • Lamb Tubes - These stretchy body tubes help keep a lamb warm since they have been sheared. Pack several to either layer on your sheep if it is cold, or to trade out if the tubes become dirty or snagged and ripped on fencing.
  • Lamb Blanket - A blanket can be used as a warm layer, but the best reason is to keep dust from settling on your clean sheep.
  • Muzzle - If allowed at a show, a muzzle is used to prevent nervous or bored sheep from eating shavings or chewing on wood. Make sure the muzzle will allow them to drink water through the muzzle.
  • Drench Gun - This tool is used to help sheep drink liquid if they are becoming dehydrated. Some shows do not allow them, so check first before you drench a lamb.
  • Feed Pans - Always bring your own feed pan. The ones that clip or hang from the fence are best.
  • Water Bucket - Always bring your own water bucket. A clean water bucket will encourage your sheep to drink at the show.
  • 4 Safety Pins - Some larger shows make exhibitors wear a large paper number on your body so they can more easily keep track of who is showing. Keep safety pins in the showbox just in case you have to where a number.
Washing Supplies
  • 1 Mild Soap - You do not need multiple shampoos, and conditioners at a show. One good mild soap that can remove dirt is all you need. The most convenient ones are the foaming soaps, but they also require a special applicator that goes on the end of a hose.
  • Whitening Shampoo - Most sheep shown are white bodied. A whitening shampoo or soap helps to brighten the white color and makes them appear cleaner than with soap alone.
  • 1 Water Hose - You need a hose that is long enough to go all the way around your lamb. Some shows supply hoses in their wash racks, but not all. The hose can also be used to fill water buckets as well.
  • 1 Spray Nozzle - I like a nozzle I can shut off while you scrub your lamb and the water stream can be adjusted from a gentle shower to rinse with, to a narrow stream for powering dirt off the hooves.
  • Bath Towels - Sheared sheep get cold quickly when being washed. Have several bath towels ready to dry your sheep off quickly. When they feel dry to the touch, cover them with a dry towel as you leave the wash racks to absorb that last bit of moisture and help them retain some body heat.
  • Plastic Brush - Sheep breeds with wool in the legs may require a little scrubbing to get out some caked on dirt and manure. Brushes with large bristles, sometimes called message brushes, allow you to get the caked dirt out without pulling out leg hairs. 
  • Fungus Wash or Treatment - Wool fungus is the most common problem that can be picked up at a show. Use a fungus wash or treatment after the show is over, before you load lambs back in the trailer to take home (also put on clean lamb tubes). This can help prevent taking wool fungus back to your barn.
Grooming and Fitting Supplies
  • Lamb Stand - Lambs are relatively short and a lamb stand lifts them up to a height that is easier for an exhibitor to groom their lamb. Steal or aluminum is up to you and your budget.
  • Hoof Trimmers - Most show sheep live in a environment that is not rocky enough to keep their hooves worn down. Use hoof trimmers to remove excess toe and sidewall of the hoof. Trimming hooves will also prevent the possibility of lameness from setting in due to extra long hooves.
  • Large Clippers - To shear sheep for the show, large "sheep head" clippers do the best and fastest job. Most exhibitors use "surgical" combs and blades with their clippers to remove as much wool as possible.
  • Small Clippers - These can be used for two reason. First to do touch up clipping on the body. Second to clip and trim wool on the legs into a desirable shape that give the appearance of larger cannon bone.
  • Wool Card or Comb - This is used to puff out and tease wool on the legs, making it easier to clip and trim into shape.
  • Hand Shears or Scissors - If you need to clip a little bit of leg wool or hair, and do not want or cannot plug in clippers, these are a quick and quiet way to get it done.
  • Coat Conditioner - When wool is sheared and washed, it loses its natural oil called lanolin. Conditioners put an oily finish back on the sheep's wool and body.
     This is the basic set of supplies I would recommend keeping in a showbox. These supplies and equipment will fit in a showbox that is relatively small. It is okay to take extra supplies and equipment, but these are the things I know will be used at every show.

Scott Stinnett
Extension Associate
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension

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