5 common questions surrounding supplements

By: Mari Morris, National Support Specialist

March 2022

Supplements are designed to be added to a feed program to affect specific areas of animal development, where a complete feed takes a more general, nourishing approach. They can be beneficial tools when used correctly. There is a supplement for everything these days, whether you need to add muscle, fat, rib fill, body depth, structural or hair development. But with so many options, it can be hard to know what to feed, when to feed it and how much to feed. We address five of the most common questions surrounding supplements in the discussion below.

  1. When should I start supplements?

Before starting supplements, every project should have a good base feed and established eating habits. When they are ready to start supplementation, your animal will tell you or, more realistically, show you. What we mean by that is that when you begin to see some flaws in your project, start thinking about how to fix those flaws. We want to start supplements early enough to make a change, and we need to use them long enough for them to do their job and work. We can see a difference as soon as 7–14 days with more aggressive supplements, but others need 30–60 days. So, the best approach to this is to start supplements at least 60 days out from show.

  1. What supplement should I be using?

As we said in the introduction, the number of supplements out there can be overwhelming. That makes answering this question difficult. But the answer lies within the animal itself. What weaknesses are he/she exhibiting? What flaws do we need to try and compensate for or fix?

  • If bloom and fat cover are the issue, we would look toward adding more energy into the diet through products like Fat-N-Fluffy or Stamina.
  • If we need to develop muscle tone, dimension and mass, we would look at higher protein products like Muscle-In-Motion, Starshine, Rite Factor and Rite Tyme. These protein products range from 20–40% protein; anything higher than that will not only shape muscle but it will aggressively burn fat.
  • If you want to burn fat, we would steer you toward Sculpt.
  • If your project is too tight-ribbed, we would recommend you try Stretch or Rite Fiber.
  • If your animal needs help breathing or enhancing stamina, Exhale is the answer.
  • If you are looking for a product that works in a matter of days to develop handling quality, support fill and provide more muscle pop, Swell is the product for the job.
  1. How much of the supplement should I feed?

Always be sure to follow label instructions on the product regarding feeding directions. Second, be sure to weigh the feed and supplements you are using. Do not rely on the container size or coffee can to measure. When reading the labeled feeding directions of a product, you may see a range. These ranges are given for a reason, not to cause you confusion. For example, it may say to feed 4–8 ounces of a product. The lower end of this range (4 ounces) is recommended for animals who need moderate help in this targeted area. The higher end of the range (8 ounces) is recommended for animals who need more aggressive help in the area. You can always feed in-between the range (6 ounces) if you are unsure where your animal falls.

  1. How do I know if a supplement is working?

You should be able to see or feel (by handling) a change in your project. If this is hard for you to determine with daily monitoring, take a picture before starting the supplement and again in 14–30 days. You should be able to see a change between the two. If you are not seeing desired results after 30–45 days, here are some things to consider:

  • Can you increase the rate without going off-label?
  • Maybe your project needs a more aggressive dose of the product.
  • Ask yourself or a resource, like a feed representative, if you are using the correct product.
  1. When do I stop using a supplement?

Many people want to stop using a supplement once they have achieved the desired results, and sometimes, depending on the product or goal, that can work. But most of the time, the animal will still need a reduced amount of that product, or another product, to maintain the desired results since they were not genetically inclined to have this trait in the first place. If you are feeding a fat supplement, you can typically pull the product when the optimal fat level has been achieved. However, if you are using a product for rib fill or muscle shape, you may need to continue feeding that product to maintain results. We typically recommend reducing the amount being fed and monitoring to see if the desired results remain. Or it may be time to switch supplements. For example, if we started using Muscle-In-Motion to add bloom and muscle mass 45 days ago and we are happy with how the animal is looking, but we want to continue enhancing muscle shape, we would consider switching to Starshine. This product will continue to add and develop lean muscle shape without adding or removing fat.

In conclusion, supplements can be a tricky game to play but extremely beneficial. They have the power to take your animal to the next level. Let your animal tell you what they need, identify the supplement that fits their needs best, follow labeled feeding directions and watch the product work its magic. If you ever need help with supplementation, do not hesitate to reach out to the Show-Rite team for a customized feed recommendation. You can contact us on Facebook or Instagram. Good luck!