Emmons County 4-H members learn the ropes of showmanship
Roxanne Knock, PhD, staff nutritionist for Dakota Land Feeds, presented key information regarding nutrition for livestock. One of the items she highlighted was the importance of keeping your show animal properly hydrated. A 1,200-1,400 pound animal needs about 26 gallons of water on a 90 degree day. She suggested bringing water from home to mix with water at the event to help the animal drink more. Another tip was mixing a can of soda with the water to mask the flavor.
Knock also discussed the six types of nutrients livestock need and the importance of consistent feeding times.
Carrie Heidrich, Southern Stars 4-H Leader, enjoyed Knock’s presentation.
Heidrich said, “I think one of the most interesting parts of the clinic was the livestock nutrition part—I don’t think (my) kids knew that it was so very important that animals get proper nutrition. I have heard lots of talk at my house since the clinic about the importance of feeding their calves the same time every day and to make sure that they are getting the right amount of food at each feeding.”
Lane Peterson, Dakota Land Feeds’ intern, demonstrated how to properly comb your animals.
“If you don’t go through one (brush) a summer, you’re not using it enough,” Peterson said.
He discussed the importance of washing your show animal each morning in order to train the hair. In addition, he talked about the importance of clipping.
Holden and Delson Droog, Emmons County 4-H, attended the livestock showmanship clinic.
Holden shared, “I learned that beef cattle should be combed starting at the tailend, working toward the front of the beef. Then, for show days, the hair should be combed slightly upward to make it look bigger.”
Delson added, “I learned that cows should be given baths with cold water, not hot water, and not really, really ice cold water.”
Todd Franz, regional sales manager for Diamond V, raises show lambs, calves and pigs. His experience as a judge and raising show animals was very insightful. He explained everything from how a 4-Her should handle an animal at the show to training it at home.
Franz gave three important tips when it comes to showing an animal—“First, find a good animal. Second, feed them good. Third, get them in good shape.”
He shared advice for getting animals to look their best at show time. For example, when showing pigs he talked about how long they should be in the sun depending on the color of the pig. If a pig is black they will get darker in the sun and look better.
Franz also talked about the importance of a 4-Hers appearance. He said that a 4-Her should be well-dressed with shirts tucked into their pants, belts and long-sleeved shirts. This shows the judge that the 4-Her really cares about what they are doing.
Heidrich commented, “I thought it was a great learning experience for all, rural and urban kids alike. I think everyone needs to know where their food comes from, someone needs to feed our world. Caring for an animal in 4-H is a great way for kids to learn how to manage and respect livestock so that they are able to fill that role when they get older.”
Kelcey Holm, Emmons County Extension Agent, added, “With so many new and younger 4-H members, this was a great chance for them to come in and learn about the daily care and showing of so many different species. The kids were definitely excited to go home and apply what they learned. We cannot thank Dakota Land Feeds enough for coming up and helping out with this clinic.”
Emmons County 4-H is working diligently to give 4-Hers opportunities to sharpen their showmanship skills. The livestock clinic followed a horsemanship clinic that was hosted by Emmons County 4-H in early May. On June 26, there will also be a chance for 4-Hers to learn showmanship skills for rabbits and poultry.
For questions related to showing 4-H animals, call Kelcey Holm, Emmons County extension agent, at 254-4811 or email Kelcey. Holm.firstname.lastname@example.org.