South Peace News
Some do it because they love animals.
Some do it because they want to learn how to properly raise animals.
Some even do it for the money.
Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, 4-H members in the East Peace District are preparing to show their work and what they’ve learned the past few months at the East Peace 4-H District Show and Sale at the High Prairie Agriplex June 2. The show starts at 1 p.m. with the sale at 5 p.m., supper to follow.
Faust resident Madison Conrad, 16, is involved in two projects this year, beef and market lamb. She was a Lakeside 4-H member for three years and is now a second-year member of Coyote Acres 4-H Club. Her varied interests also included cooking and horsemanship in 4-H.
Conrad joined 4-H for her desire to learn.
“I wanted to know how to raise livestock so you could raise your own beef,” she says.
Conrad is currently raising a steer named Hank, a Simmental born April 5, 2017.
At times, she admits she had made some errors, but quickly corrected them.
“I had little oops,” she laughs. “I do all my feeding in kilograms and I gave him [too much grain].”
As a result, Hank got acidosis, a metabolic disorder of the rumen where pH levels decrease very rapidly as a result of a sudden switch in diets from roughage [like hay and grass] to high-concentrates [like grain].
“It was pretty bad. “The vet said he never saw any steer live through that.”
Since that time, she has learned to carefully check and double check feed rations.
“You have to be diligent,” she says. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
While feeding guidelines are set in charts, learning how to groom and show an animal is a different story. Some animals learn quickly and submit to instruction, while others can be moody and bit more of a challenge.
Hank, let’s say, was a bit of a challenge.
“He dragged me down the hill,” says Conrad.
But Hank quickly learned who was “boss”.
“He was easy to halter train and he doesn’t mind being brushed.”
Another lesson learned is to train them as soon as possible before the animal becomes set in its ways. Conrad knew this already and started working with Hank during the winter.
Conrad is also raising a lamb this year, a Suffolk X Dorset called Bert. She is hoping to repeat last year’s Grand Champion title.
But, which does she prefer?
“I love my cow.”
She admits it will be tough to part with him at the sale. Like many members, who spend so much time with their animals and become so attached to them, tears will be shed.
“You put so much time and so much work into them,” she says. “You say ‘Hello!’ to them and spend so much time together. We even have naps together.”
While 4-H is a lot of work – did we mention that extensive records books must also be kept? – Conrad says the rewards far outweigh the hardships.
“You learn a lot about feeding and a lot about bookkeeping. You learn to speak.”
Plus, you meet and make new friends at the monthly meetings because the members have similar interests.
The East Peace 4-H District Show and Sale will be at the High Prairie Agriplex June 2. The show starts at 1 p.m. with the sale at 5 p.m., supper to follow.
Participating clubs include Coyote Acres 4-H Club, Kinuso Lakeside 4-H Club, Northern Lights 4-H Club, and Mirror Landing 4-H Club near Smith.