College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Extension Publications

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Extension Publications

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Extension Publications

The Extension Publications collections in the UA Campus Repository are comprised of both current and historical agricultural extension documents from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at

the University of Arizona.

This item is archived to preserve the historical record. This item may contain outdated information and is not intended to be used as current best practice.

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Publications website,

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Choose Your Breed 3

Select Your Animal -5

Feeding the Show Calf °

Equipment You Will Need 12

Care and Handling 13

Beef Projects 17

Definition of Terms 18

Judging Beef Cattle 18

Points of the Beef Animal 21

4-H Show Trappings Chest 22

The author wishes to acknowledge subject matter information from earlier editions of the 4-H beef calf circulars in Arizona. Cover picture by

Joe McClelland is of Freddy Nussbaumer, 4-H club member who lives near Casa Grande in

Final county.


College of Agriculture, Agricultural Extension Service

Chas. U. Pickrell, Director

Co-operative extension work in agriculture and home economics, the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture co-operating. Distributed in the furtherance of the acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914.

5M - Revised April 1955 - Cir. 139


4-H Beef Caff

By At Lane, Extension Specialist in Animal Husbandry

You and other 4-H club members are the coming farmers and ranchers, who will soon take hold of the agricultural problems in the state. What you learn today, both through study and experience, you can use tomorrow toward a better agricultural and business world.

Cattle feeding involves extra work. But in return you get more income through added fertility to your land by returning many of the necessary fertilization factors to the soil. Cattle feeding also makes use of roughages such as coarse hay, pasture, and other waste feeds that would otherwise have little, if any, value.

These advantages, and the pleasure gained from working with livestock, make this one of the most interesting and profitable enterprises in which you as a 4-H member can take part.

This circular presents information about the selection, feeding, care and showing of a beef calf.

Choose Your Breed

The three most popular breeds of beef cattle in the United States are Hereford, Shorthorn, and

Aberdeen Angus. Herefords are the most popular breed in Arizona.

All three of these breeds have excellent beef qualities. In the feed lot it depends more on the individual animal than the breed, as to which will show the best results.

In recent years Brahman, Charolais, and other crosses have been fed in Arizona, especially for commercial summer feeding programs.

These crosses have not been used to any extent in the show ring and are at a disadvantage for this purpose.

Select Your Animal

Your calf should be selected at least 6 to 8 months before the 4-H

Fair. A 400-to-500 pound calf will make an 800-to-10G0 pound steer to show.

Many feeders p r e f e r to feed purebred animals. However, excellent calves may be obtained from good commercial cattle. In either case do not over pay on the price of the calf.

A feeder wants to make a profit as well as gain experience from a feeding enterprise. When buying a calf from a registered herd, you cannot afford to pay registered breeding prices for a steer calf.

So consider carefully your initial cost plus feeding cost and expected selling price when purchasing your calf. At any show, the champion calf will sell at a good premium. However, some calves can be expected to bring a price only a little above cost. Or they may even show a loss.

The success or failure of a beef enterprise depends in a large part upon the cattle you have to feed.

Knowing how to feed is very important, but equally valuable is the ability to select an animal that is worthy of, and equal to, your skill in feeding. This is where your ability in judging comes into use.

"Beef Type"

The term "beef type" means a thick, blocky, beefy animal of

"substance and quality." In describing these terms a brick is often used as an illustration. The beef animal must be rectangular and square in form similar to a brick standing on edge.

The legs should be placed at the corners of this brick for support but still close to the ground.

The neck should be short and blend smoothly with shoulders. The top and bottom lines should be parallel with a broad, level back, a wellrounded and well-filled rump carrying straight down to full quarters in the rear, with all of these points shown together in a smooth compact manner.

In general, the animal has a smooth, mellow, even appearance indicating good quality.

General Appearance

When you first go to look at your animal or animals, stand off and get a general picture of the group or the individual. See if they tend to be full and deep throughout, blocky and close to the ground, and have the correct markings. When you are satisfied that the animal meets your approval in general appearance for beef type, look for parallel top and bottom lines, smooth sides, spring of rib, and well-filled rump and twist.

The Head

The head should be broad between the eyes, short in length, and broad over the muzzle. If it is a female animal the characteristics should show femininity, and if a male, should show masculinity. The short, broad head that is wide between the eyes and over the muzzle, usually indicates that the body will be of the same type.

The neck should be short, smooth and tight at the throat and blended smoothly into the shoulder. A straight-edge ruler should

Feeding the Show Calf

A calf will grow on most any feed. But to put on fat and a show finish requires more exact feeding.

In feeding, a "ration" is the feed given an animal in a twenty-four hour period. The ration for a calf must be balanced to get results.

That is, it must contain the right kinds and amounts of proteins, c a r b o h y d r a t e s , fats, minerals and vitamins.

As a rule, additional mineral supplements other than salt are not necessary in a feeding program when good legume hay is fed with a properly balanced ration.

Feedstuffs are spoken of as concentrates and roughages. Corn, barley, Hegari, other grains, meal, and milk are considered concentrates.

Hay, silage, beet pulp, pasture, etc., are considered roughages.

Concentrates are the feeds that contain the greatest food values and the ones that put the most finish on an animal.

But for proper digestion an animal must have a certain amount of roughage. It is the roughage also that furnishes the greater part of the required vitamins.

Milk is one of the best feeds for younger calves, but you can feed successfully without a nurse cow.

When milk is not available, supplement the ration with more protein-rich feeds such as bran, cottonseed m e a l , or prepared calf feeds. Commercial calf feeds are a good source of protein.

Nurse cows are not recommended for 4-H projects. The cost of such feeding becomes too high.

Common Feeds for a Balanced Ration


Cottonseed Meal

Linseed Meal

Wheat Bran

Legume Hay



Calf Feeds

Feeds That Supply






Other Grains




Legume hay

Cottonseed Meal

Steamed bone meal

Ground limestone



Starting on Feed

Start with plenty of roughage, changing gradually to more concentrates. Allow about 5 to 6 weeks to get calves on full feed. Four to five hundred pound calves should produce choice beef in about 180 days.

Provide rest, water and 4 to 5 pounds of roughage the first day.

Fill on roughage the second and third days. Add 1 pound of cottonseed meal or mixed protein supplement on the 4th day. Feed on roughage and meal the next 3 days.

Add a pound of grain on the 7th day, continuing the roughage and meal. Increase the grain % pound every third day. Gradually decrease the roughage during the 3rd week so calves will eat sufficient grain.

After 5 weeks calves should eat

1 pound of meal, 5 to 6 pounds of grain and 8 or 9 pounds of roughage. Slowly increase grain according to schedule or to the amount the calf will clean up. If concentrates are left, feed less roughage next time.

Nearing the final finish period, calves should eat about 1% pounds protein supplement, 11 to 15 pounds grain, 5 to 7 pounds dry roughage. Feed about 2*4 pounds legume hay daily where such other roughage as grass, mixed or bleached hay is being fed.

Below are some such rations to be used as a guide. Adjust the ration to fit your feed and the appetite of your calf. Consult your 4-H club leader or your County Agriculture Agent for advice.

How to Feed

How you feed is as important as what you feed. An animal requires about two pounds of concentrates per one hundred pounds of live weight per day. When the concentrates have enough protein, the calf will make the required gains.

No exact program can be made that will fit every calf. A few general rules and suggestions can be made, then the feeder must use his or her own judgment.

A calf must be fed a feed it likes and will eat readily. Slight changes in kind of feed may increase his appetite.

"Do not overfeed/' Start your calf with small amounts of concentrates and more roughage. Oats are a good grain for a beginning ration but gradually should be replaced with barley, hegari, or corn. As the feeding progresses, these other grains increase the fat as well as growth and make the finish on a calf.

As your calf grows and you increase the feed, or if you find it necessary to change feeds, do so gradually. Any sudden change may cause serious trouble.

Calves like pasture. Occasionally early in the feeding program a few hours on pasture will stimulate the appetite. However, calves should never be allowed to have pasture while being pushed for a prime show finish.

Feeding three times daily will force the calf to eat slightly more grain per day. The usual practice is to feed twice a day. But, whether fed two or three times, feed at the same time each day.

Regularity will do much to keep


Suggested Rations


Pounds To Feed Per Day

400 lbs.


600 lbs.


800 lbs.


No. I

Barley, rolled, ground or

Hegari, rolled or ground crimped 3


Cottonseed meal


Wheat bran

Alfalfa and grass hay



No. II

Oats, whole

Com, ground

Barley, rolled or ground

Cottonseed Meal

Alfalfa and grass hay





No. Ill

Hegari, rolled, ground or

Barley, rolled or ground

Cottonseed meal

Beet pulp (dry)

Commercial Calf Starter

Alfalfa hay crimped 2 72











3 7


























Linseed meal or good commercial supplement can be substituted for cottonseed meal, especially near the end of the feeding period to add bloom.

In the above rations the amount of hay is shown to give the approximate amount necessary to balance the ration. Do not limit your calf to this amount. Give him all the hay he will clean up and still eat his grain.

Early in the feeding period 8 pounds of silage plus Vi pound of cottonseed meal can replace 3 pounds of the hay. Gradually reduce the silage so that none is being fed the last 6 0 days.

1 pound of molasses can be used with any of the above rations as an appetizer; dilute the molasses with water.

—11 —

Care and Handling

It is very important that your calf be gentle and properly trained to make a good showing when on exhibition. One of the first things you must do when you purchase a young calf is to get it gentle.

Any calf will fight and object to being tied up and led at first, so it is best to get this over with before the calf starts on his fattening process.

The Halter

When you first receive your young calf, make a small rope halter. Put the halter on the calf and tie him up to a rail fence or corral, tying his head rather high and giving him four feet of slack.

Do not have the rope so loose that the calf can step over it and get tangled up. Tie the calf up in this manner for a few hours each day, and he will soon stand gently and not pull back on the rope.

and cause much confusion when there is a long line of calves in the ring. Most judges will disqualify a calf that has not been broken to lead and perform properly in the show ring.

A Small Pen

To make the best use of feed, the calf should be kept in a small pen where it is cool and free from flies. This pen should be small enough so that the calf will not have room to exercise.

If the calf is turned out in a large corral, he will romp and play too much and thus lose some of the pounds you are trying to put on.

It is best, therefore, to keep the calf in the small pen at all times and take him out on the halter to exercise by hand.

The c*l£ should walk a half a mile a day. This not only gives the necessary exercise, but also is excellent training in leading and a good chance to practice showmanship.

Leading the Calf

After the calf has learned to stand while being tied up, the next process is to break him to lead,

Untie your calf and work with him in a small corral getting him to come toward you, or lead, a few steps at a time. Do not work at it so long that the calf becomes tired, but practice for a short time each day. Leading the calf to his feed usually speeds the teaching time.

Calves that hold back in the show ring and have to be pulled or dragged along detract from themselves and the show. They are out of position and do not show themselves well before the judge

Siari Grooming

While you are breaking the calf to lead and stand tied up, it is well to start grooming; that is, brushing and combing his hair and getting the animal used to being handled all over. You should wash him occasionally with good soap and water to keep his hair and skin clean. Do not wash every day as too much washing will tend to drag out some of the hair, but washing several times in the months before the show helps to grow the hair and soften the hair and hide.

Showmen try to have as much



On the Hereford breeding animals, the tail is the only part that is clipped. On an Angus, and on dehorned steers, the head is also clipped. Normally the ears are left undipped.

All tails cannot be clipped alike.

The tail should be clipped from the break of the twist on up to the tail head, blending in smoothly with the rump. The idea is to make the animal appear neat and show off the fullness of the twist.

This clipping should be done 2 to

3 weeks before the show, thus giving the hairs a chance to grow out and give a smoother appearance. Clip the head back to the small part of the neck, but no farther.


The calf should be thoroughly cleaned before showing. Soak the hair coat thoroughly with soft water if possible. Then work a good lather with a soft soap or wetting agent by rubbing briskly with a stiff brush and the hands.

Continue to add soap and water as needed and brush until all of the dirt is w a s h e d away. A slight amount of bluing may be added to the rinse water for the white hair, but if a calf has been washed several times before the show this Is usually not necessary.

Continue to rinse with clean water until every bit of soap has been removed. You might apply a final rinse to which some creosote dip has been added. The dip tends to stiffen the hair and causes it to stand up when brushed later.

Curling or Waving the Hair

Use an ordinary comb to curl or wave the hair. The hair is parted down the crest of the neck to just behind the shoulders. Next brush the hair up on end using a course

Scotch comb. Brush the hair up the sides to the back; brush the hair up over the rump, over the loin and back to the part at the withers.

Constantly brush the hair in this manner until it is dry. It will then be standing on end giving the calf a wide, thick smooth appearance.

Another method of waving is by using a circular spring curry comb.

(See the picture, top of page 16.)

Have the hair quite wet, then brush it off until it is partially dry. The hair is waved in a zig-zag motion.

This is done vertically along the sides and up to the back covering the same area that was brushed in the first method. Follow this by brushing upward as the hair is drying in much the same manner as the final brushing in the first method.

Take particular care to get the hair up well in any low areas such as around the tail head, the flanks, etc. If you show at a time when your calf has very short hair, then all you can do is to be sure the coat is clean and the hair is brushed smoothly.

Training to Stand

To look well in the show ring an animal must be trained to stand in the proper position. This is one of the most important points to remember. An animal that is half asleep and slouchy may be very good, but look at his worst just when the judge approaches him.


a judge comes up to where it is being held at the halter it will not flinch, kick, or try to get away.

It is permissable for a judge in any show to disregard any animal that is unruly and hard to examine, and to throw it out of the class.

Never Fight Your Calf

Never fight your animal to keep it in place in the show ring. If he becomes unruly or hard to make stand in the right position, take him out of line, turn him around, and lead him back into the proper place.

Stand close, holding the halter at the left side of the head, and keep your animal at attention. You never know when the judge will be looking at him, and in a show ring every point counts.

Do Your Best

The purpose of any show is to advertise livestock and agricultural products. Therefore, it is up to the exhibitor of each animal to keep that animal looking its best at all times. Keep your stalls clean, the surroundings of the animal clean, and have the bedding well placed and neatly arranged so as to make a pleasing exhibit for people who are going through to look at your products.

Your standing as a club member depends partly on the way you care for your exhibit and the manner in which you conduct yourself while at the show.

Beef Projects

The beef projects that a 4-H member may participate in are as follows:

Fat-beef Project

With this project a member may have from 1 to 3 fat-beef animals.

These animals are to be owned and pen fed by the 4-H member for a minimum of 150 days. If you start with a smaller calf plan on a longer feeding period.

This project is ideal for the boy or girl who is interested in beef to start with, having just one calf the first year. If you are successful with the one calf the first year, you may want to have 2 or

3 fat beef animals the next year or else go into a feeding or breeding project.

Feeding Project

This project is similar to the fat-beef project except you are using the experiences you have gained from feeding individual fat animals to feed out a pen of 4 or more animals. This project is more in line with practices of your commercial cattle feeders. It should be limited to boys and girls who live on a farm where they raise most of their feed, and have adequate facilities for handling a pen of feeders.

Breeding Project

This project is for the boy or girl who is interested in building up a breeding herd of registered or purebred cattle for the future. The requirements are to start with 1 or


more registered animals and keep complete records on their keep and registrations. This is more of a long-range project with very little return the first few years. But if you are conscientious and successful with it, it may be an enterprise for life.

Range Beef Project

This project is for the ranch boy or girl who does not have an opportunity to participate in the other beef projects, it is mainly a record keeping project and if proper records are kept, you can learn a great deal about the costs and management of range cattle.

Keeping proper records is a very important part of all these projects.

A great deal of the good you derive from 4-H depends on the sincerity with which you keep records.

Definition of Terms

Balance—Depth and width from front to rear with all parts blending smoothly. The appearance is pleasing.

Blocky—Deep, wide, low set and compact.

Characteristics—Identifying or distinguishing points or parts.

Coarse—Rough, harsh appearance, lacking in refinement.

Compact—Shortness b e t w e e n crops and hook bones along with body depth.

Conformation—Body s h a p e or form.

Constitution—General body vigor indicated by rugged bone, large heart girth and roomy middle.

Mellow Hide—Soft, pliable and easy to handle.

Open Shoulders—Shoulder blades held loosely together and not filled in over the top.

Patchy—Rough, uneven distribution of fat.

Paunchy—Applied to an animal which carries too much belly.

Quality—Fineness of texture; freedom from coarseness.

Stylish—Having a pleasing, graceful, alert, general appearance.

Substance—The f o u n d a t i o n or structure that underlies all outward appearance.

Symmetrical—Proper balance or relationship of all parts.

Thrifty Condition—Healthy, active and vigorous.

Judging Beef Cattle

Under the heading "Select your be compared between the animals

Animal" starting on page 5 are the facts you must know and be being judged. But a few are much more important than the others.

able to observe to be a good judge.

All of these characteristics must

The essentials are shown at the top of the next page.


Essential Points For Judging

Use these essentials for making your Placings.


Thickness of Fleshing


Uniformally wide

Low-set and Compact

Wide loin and deep round

Quality and


Balance of parts



Yield plus:.

Also consider less essential points:

A . They may necessitate a switch in your placing.

B. Talk obvious differences between them in your reasons.

C. Do not overlook breed characteristics.

Beef Cattle Terms for Judging

General Appearance


More balance

Straighter lined

Lower set, more compact


Stronger, more rugged

*Loose framed


More breed character

Shorter, wider head

More Feminine (Masculine) head

Bolder, cleaner cut head

"'Weaker, plain head


Neater laid shoulders

Smoother shoulders

*Coarse, open shouldered

*More prominent shoulders


Wider chest

Deeper chest

Larger heartgirth

More arch of forerib

More constitution

^Shallow in the heart


Shorter neck


Blending evenly with shoulders


Back and Loin



Fuller, Thicker

Smoother Loin

More evenly covered

*Easy in the back

*Rough and narrow


Fleshing or Condition


Higher Finished

More even fleshing

Deeper covered over back

Higher dressing percentage

""Harsher finish

Ribs and Belly

More spring of Rib

Deeper ribbed

Tighter middled

Straighter underlined

Narrow back of shoulders

Bare over ribs

Hips and Rump

Smoother hooks

More even turned hips

Squarer at the rump

Straighter and more level rumped


"Coarse af the hooks

'"Pinched rump




Squarer placed

Cleaner cut

Shorter and heavier boned


"Cow hocked

Body (General)





Shorter coupled



Wasty middled



Smoother finish

More mellow handling

Neater middle

More pliable hide

Softer haired

More symmetry and style

^Tighter hided

Round and Twist



Plumper and wider

Heavier round

""Shallow in the twist

Hight in the round

*These terms describe undesirable characteristics.


4-H Show Trappings Chest


/ " X If"


Materials Needed:

26 square feet of plywood for top, bottom, sides, and ends.

1 piece, fir, 1 " x 2 l f

x 5 f

0 f I

, for bottom cleats.

1 piece, softwood, 1 f I

x 2

I f

x 14 f

0", for nailing cleats. (Used on each corner and where the sides and bottom are lined and re-enforccment in lid.)

2 chest handles and 2 strap hinges, 5


and 1 hasp.

1 light chain, \T\ Use screw eyes to fasten this to the box and lid, so that the lid is supported when open.

4 pieces, 24 ga. Galvanized sheet iron, AVi" x 13", for corner covers.

4 chest corners. (Corners may be made of 1 'A


x 4V2 fI

pieces of sheet metal, if necessary.

Courtesy U. of Nebraska


How To Build A Chest

For a light, easy-to-handle chest,



" plywood is suggested. Use the following construction steps: may be fastened in place before the front is sawed.

6. Fasten the divider into lid, using No. 8 flat head screws.

1. Lay out sides, top, and bottom on V


" plywood. Ends may be made of % "plywood, but 5/8"

or %" plywood is preferred.

One inch fir or pine boards may be used if preferred.

2. Cut out parts. Ends and sides should be cut to the full 14%" height required.

7. Cut three I"x4"xl8" cleats.

Fasten these to the bottom, as shown in the illustration. Use

2 2" No. 9 flat head screws at each end, placing them to fasten into the nailing cleat. Countersink the heads.

3. Assemble sides, ends, and bottom, using nailing cleats. Use cement coated 6d nails. The box and lid will be assembled, then cut into parts. This insures a perfect fitting lid. Do not drive any nails where the saw might strike them.

8. Cut the corner covers from 24 ga. galvanized metal. Drill holes and round corners before bending. Bending may be done by clamping the corners between two pieces of heavy angle iron in a vice.

4. Fasten the top to the sides, using 4d cement coated nails.

9. You may use ready made chest corners on the lid, or you may cut covers as you did for the box.

5. Draw a line around the box, 2" below the top. Saw along this line carefully. If the back and ends are sawed first, hinges

10. Fasten hardware to the box with %" stove bolts. Use W


No. 6 round head screws for the corner covers.


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