7/25/17

Today was a rather uneventful day with the goats. In the beginning Donna told me what I should do to improve my showmanship. During the show the only two things that matter are the judge and my goat. When I was showing at Baltimore County 4-H Fair I didn’t look at the judge enough and I spent too much time looking at other things in the ring instead of at the judge.

When Donna left I worked with Scarlett more. She wasn’t the most cooperative today but she was standing up well on her own. When she stopped cooperating entirely I put her back in the pen and gave her some animal crackers for working with me.

After I finished up working with Scarlett I worked with Ellsa. Since she is most likely going to be my showmanship animal I walked her for a bit then practiced showmanship. She was very cooperative showmanship wise and I worked with her for a solid half hour. After I finished working with Ellsa, I fed her and the other goats animal crackers. Eve all of a sudden got very affectionate when she saw I had food, which is typical Eve but still very funny. Once the goats cleaned out my animal crackers I made sure the gates were locked then went home.

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Eve being affection to try and get more food

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7/20/17

I started off today by walking Scarlett around the big path. She was less cooperative then usual but I think that’s because it was around 95 degrees outside with humidity around 90%. As Scarlett and I were in the home stretch a car was driving down the road so I attempted to pull Scarlett to the side but she wouldn’t really budge. The people in the car were driving slowly and they smiled when they got close so I guess they realized how difficult it is to work with animals in the heat. Showmanship with Scarlett went well. I got her to walk on a chain for a bit but I still had issues setting her up correctly.

Once I was done with Scarlett I attempted to walk and show Eve. Eve was incredibly difficult today. Even pulling on her tail did nothing so after about ten to fifteen minutes of fighting her I put her back in the pen and grabbed Ellsa.

Walking Ellsa was a breeze. I just pulled on her tail a bit and eventually she started walking on her own. Showmanship was good as well. She listened to me when I needed her to move her legs and she kept her head up the whole time. It’s really nice that we work well together, but I still need to work on improving my bracing for showmanship.

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Ellsa walking like a champ

After I was done working with Ellsa, Jordan and I fed all the goats. I got food for the girls and Jordan got Sparky, Dasher, and Scooter’s food ready. After everyone was fed Jordan gave some liquid fat to Scooter and Dasher to help them grow. I held the goat and made sure its head was up and Jordan pushed the syringe’s contents into their mouths so they couldn’t spit it out.

Once everyone was fed we replaced the bucks water and then I was done for the day.

 

 

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Baltimore County Fair Day 3: 7/15/17

Saturday morning is always my favorite day of county fair for one simple reason: pancakes. The pancake breakfast is on Saturday morning and it’s always a great way to start off your day. After I ate my pancakes I walked over to Jen’s area and chatted with her about raising her cows. I learned a lot and she offered for me to lease one of her Charolais beef heifers for the show season next year. I personally think that would be a great time but I’m not sure my parents would feel the same way.

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After my quick chat I walked over to the goats. The stalls looked alright but there was some poop I had to clear out of the stalls. After the stalls were clear I went over to Caroline and chatted with her before the dairy goat stall. Caroline did very well in her categories consistently coming in second.

 

After the dairy goat show I got a quick lunch before Battle of the Beasts.

Battle of the Beasts is one of the silly events at the fair. Its an obstacle course open to multiple species. This year meat goats, dairy goats, and market lambs participated.

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First you and your animal go through a hula hoop then climb onto a wooden board. After walking across the board you go over the ramp covered in fake grass and step in and out of the blue kiddie pool.

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After the kiddie pool you and your animal jump over the crossed bars go over the bridge and zigzag through the bars.

IMG_3135.JPGFinally you run over the wood blank and jump over the red 2x4s. I chose to run with Ellsa because she is the most agile of my goats and she is easiest to move. We lost about 30 seconds at the  kiddie pool and another 20 at the uneven bars but I was proud nonetheless. In the end I came in 16th out of 19, which isn’t bad especially since I only did this event for fun. This was definitely a fun way to end my second, and possibly final, Baltimore Counth 4-H fair.

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Baltimore County Fair Day 2: 7/14/17

I got to the fairgrounds at 9:00am and started off by dumping out wheelbarrow full of poop from the goats and Jen’s cows. Once the stall were clean I put food into all the goats pens, except for Sparky, who was Jordan’s responsibility. While the goats were eating I noticed that Ellsa had a poop stain on her back. Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have bothered me but since I was showing her I needed to clean her off immediately. Once she was washed again I started to dry her off only to realize that I have 15 minutes before I need to be in the show ring so I get Donna to finish drying Ellsa while I changed into my showmanship attire (a white polo and khaki pants.) Once I was changed I dried Ellsa off one more time then walked up to the ring.

The obligatory showmanship attire mirror picture

Going into the ring I felt pretty confident. I was making consistent eye contact with the judge and I was able to answer her questions but by the time I got to the end of the show I got tired and started slipping. At one point Ellsa was standing diagonally, which is exactly what you don’t want during showmanship. In the end I did fairly well, I came in third place out of five people. Jordan unsurprisingly came in first place for both our class and he won Grand Champion for Meat Goat Showmanship. The judge commented on my lack of energy at the end of the show, which taught me something that I never considered to be a part of showmanship, eating a good breakfast. My breakfast left me feeling sluggish and I didn’t get as much sleep as I would like and those two things combined definitely did not help with my lack of energy in the ring. Another thing this brought up is how I have to practice my showmanship more. If I want to do better than Jordan at Hereford Junior Farm Fair or at the Baltimore County 4-H Fair next year then I need to be putting in more time with my goats. The judge also thought I was wearing tennis shoes in the ring, which is a big no-no so while talking about the placement she said “It seems like some people decided to wear sneakers into the show ring.” I can’t be 100% sure that this didn’t affect how I was scored so in future shows I should get some nice western boots for the ring.

A picture of me walking Ellsa in the ring during the meat goat show. Courtesy of Baltimore County 4-H’s instagram.

After I left the ring I put Ellsa back in her pen and waited till the buck classes were over to grab Eve. When I showed Eve in the Doe 3 years old class, which is a class for goats born from September 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014, I came in third place. This isn’t too bad because the first and second place does looked much better in terms of muscle mass. One thing that was interesting about this judge is that she allowed us to use halters instead of show chains, which isn’t usually the case but since Eve is easier to walk on a chain I just rolled with it.

When Donna handed me Scarlett for the Doe 2 year old class the only thing she told me was that Scarlett was in heat so I had to hold on for dear life and try to avoid touching her hind legs. That caused some problems in the show ring because part of setting up your goat is making sure that their legs are in the right position. Scarlett doesn’t like to have her hind legs touched to begin with so every I tried to set her up she would jump and run around in a circle. At one point Donna yelled from the side of the ring “You need to set her up so the judge can see her,” which I tried to do but she just kept jumping around. At one point the judge put Scarlett and I at the front of the line, which means that she thought Scarlett should place first, but then she moved me to second place. When she was explaining her choice her reasoning was basically that Scarlett was never set up well enough for her to tell if my animal was better than the animal in first place. This just goes to show that I need to be spending more time up at the barn with the goats.

Showing Ellsa in the Intermediate Doe Kid class went seamlessly. In fact, Ellsa came in first for her class, which was exciting. After Ellsa was awarded the first place ribbon for Intermediate Doe Kid, she had to compete against all the other does that won their respective age groups. Unfortunately, Ellsa lost out to a three year old doe but the judge said that she has a lot of promise when she gets older, which is a good sign.

As soon as I left the show ring I left Ellsa with Shelby, another 4-H et that shows beef steers and swine so I could grab Eve for the Dam and Daughter class. As I was slipping the halter over Eve’s head Shelby brought Eve back to the pens because the other contestants dropped out of Dam and Daughter so I automatically won.

After putting Eve and Ellsa back in their pens I helped with the last fair tour. It was a group of 30 or so kids in early elementary school and their four chaperones. When we were showin them the animals they had a lot of questions, which seemed to be a theme for the tour. During the indoor exhibit section of the tour the kids had so many questions about how to enter exhibits to the fair and they also needed to constantly be reminded not to touch the entries.

After The tour wrapped up I watches the pig show with Caroline and Santana. I’m glad Santana was there because she’s shown swine before so she explained to us what was going on. Apparently swine judges will sometimes kick sawdust from the show pen onto the animal to see how fast the 4-Her brushes it off. Since Santana is a was telling us about all the different animals she shown (she shown every animal possible except for alpacas and goats) and her favorite animals to show. She talked about how she would love to start leasing her cattle to 4-Hers but since she’s at college it is a bit more difficult for her to start a leasing project. I threw my name into the hat for people who could potentially lease animals because she knows I’m interested and responsible.

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Left to right: Santana, Caroline, and I watching the swine show. 

After the swine show I walked over to the scarecrow building contest only to realize that the scarecrows were being judged Saturday morning instead of being due Saturday morning. I of course had left all my scarecrow building materials at home

Once I returned to the fairgrounds Caroline and I got to work. I took one pair of tights and stuffed them with straw. Then I shoved the hay into the bottom until it formed feet, legs, and eventually a torso. Caroline made the arms and head but the tights were so long that the arms dragged down to the knees. In order to fix this problem we tied part of the arm to itself and crossed the arms, which made the arms look less ridiculous. Once the scarecrow was in scrubs we tied him to a pole so he could stand up. In my humble opinion I think my scarecrow will come in first place because it looks the best and you can tell what it is immediately but I guess I’ll have to see what the judges say.

The scarecrow’s body before clothes.

The finished product

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Baltimore County Fair Day 1: 7/13/17

My first day at the fair was off to an interesting start. I left my banner for my stall at home so I had to drive home to get it.

The reason I had to get a banner for my stall is so that I would be eligible for the Herdsman award. This award is given to the 4-Her whose stall is the cleanest for the duration of the fair. As is written on the Baltimore County 4-H fair website: “Each category is worth 10 points each. Exhibitors’ areas will be judged approximately 3 times per day unannounced, at any time of the day, by unbiased individuals as well as the Dept. Superintendents. The scores from each day will be totaled at the end of the fair and the winner will be announced. Exhibitor’s name must be clearly identified to be judged.

Judging Criteria:

1. Cleanliness and care of Animal

2. Cleanliness of Bedding

3. Cleanliness of Feed/Tack Area & Central Aisle

4. Attractiveness of Exhibitor’s assigned area

5. Breed Promotion / Educational Display

6. Assigned area and Display identified with exhibitor’s name”

Once I got back to the fairgrounds and set up my stall I went over to the indoor exhibits to see how I did. All of my Arts and Hobbies entries came in first through third place, which is great, but my livestock educational poster didn’t do well at all. Since I have one more year in 4-H I want to try and get either Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion in an indoor exhibit next year. While I was with my indoor exhibits I also turned in my bucket of junk. Bucket of junk is a contest to see who can make the most interesting thing with a bucket of random objects. I made a ski slope using all the objects and personally I think I’ll get first place because mine looked super cool in comparison to all the rest of the entries.

My Bucket of Junk entry

After I finished looking at the indoor exhibits, I helped other 4-Hers get their pigs down to the washing pens. In order to make sure the pigs don’t escape you use pig boards to herd the pigs in the right direction. Since I had never worked with pigs before this was a real learning experience. If there is even a slight gap in the boards then a pig will stick its nose through and escape. You also have to hold the board firmly so that the pig doesn’t try to push you over. Once I got the hang of it it was pretty easy to work with the pigs. This is actually one of the reasons I want to have a market swine project next year; a pig will push me to be a better showman because its a large animal and I want a new challenge.

Once all the pigs were washed and put back in their pens I helped Jen wash her cows. I worked with Lucy, her older Charolais heifer since she is more willing to work with people. I just used a scrub brush with dawn soap to clean her off. I paid special attention to the neck because Charolais are white so when they sweat their necks have an orangish tine. In fitting and showing it is as much about how well you show the animal as it is about how clean your animal is. I also scrubbed the hooves to get some dirt out. While Jen was drying off her heifers I grabbed some lunch because thats not really a two person job.

After I ate lunch I washed and blow dried the goats so they would be ready for showmanship tomorrow morning. I started off by washing Eve, who wasn’t happy to get wet, Even though Eve was making a lot of noise and trying to run away from the water she wasn’t nearly as bad as Scarlett, who would run under the wash racks so much that her halter got messed up. Scarlet still wasn’t letting me touch her legs so it was difficult to wash her and blow her out. Washing and drying Ellsa was a breeze, especially since she’s to small to run away from me. After everyone was washed and dried and back in their pens I went home to study my goat anatomy for showmanship.

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7/4/17

I started off my day by cleaning around the round bale. I moved the soiled hay away from the bed and put it into the wheelbarrow. Although this task isn’t time consuming it takes a lot of physical strength and I was exhausted by the time I took the wheelbarrow to the pile of soiled hay.

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The newly cleaned round bale

 

Once the lower pasture was clean I walked Eve. She was uncooperative as usual but eventually we got into a rhythm .After I successfully got her to walk a few laps I put Eve on the stanchion and started walking Scarlett.

Scarlett was being her usual uncooperative self. Every time I touched her tail she would walk around in a circle and end up in the exact opposite position in relation to where I wanted her to be. After a few laps of this I put Scarlett on the stanchion so I could brush her fur.

Brushing Eve is a lot easier than walking her because she knows how to behave on the stand and he doesn’t jump when I touch her. I brushed Eve until her fur shined and the chunks of dirt were dislodged from her fur. After Eve was looking spick and span I put her back in her pen.

Walking Ellsa was a breeze. She’s the most cooperative and she’s so small that when I always have the option to pick her up. After walking Ellsa a few times I washed her off. Since Donna spent her time helping Megan and Maddie with their goats that we didn’t have time to wash Ellsa. Once Ellsa was washed and dried I brushed her to loosen knots in her fur. When Ellsa’s grooming was complete Donna took a headshot of her for the Baltimore County Fair.

After Ellsa’s headshot I brushed Scarlett and Donna took Scarlett headshot photo as well. Once everybody was clean and fair ready I went home to study my goat anatomy.

 

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Scarlett and Ellsa

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7/1/17: The Advantage Sheep and Goat Clinic 

The day started off pretty hectic as most things pertaining to goats do. I had to help Donna and Jordan get the six goats into their halters and load them into the cab of Donna’s truck. The first time we tried to load goats on Gabby and Holly got into the truck but then they jumped out and ran away. The second time around we got all the goats in with their halters on so Jordan and I hopped into the cab and took off all their halters. Once we were on the highway we realized that we left the water buckets at home so we decided get some from the Walmart.

When we were about ten minutes away the cab of the truck started fogging up so we had to pull over, hop into the cab and slide the windows open so the goats can get some air. As we continued on our way we somehow made a left instead or a right and drive to far down. Once we made a u-turn and retraced our steps we finally got to the York Fairgrounds. We met up with Kerry and her daughters Maddie and Megan who are also showing goats. Since their goats are sick they’re showing Jordan’s goats as well.

The first part of the session was lamb fitting and washing. This was very interesting, if you are showing a market or lamb so Donna, Jordan, and I were sitting through this. I feel like I learned a lot during this portion, although I don’t think that leasing a lamb is in my future. At the end of the portion focused on how to get your lamb showmanship ready they showed us how to use a blending blade.

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Stock Show U instructors explain how to groom a market lamb

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The lamb after grooming

After the lamb portion of the show we went over goat fitting and showing. This had a large emphasis on meat goats, which was somewhat helpful but it wasn’t what we had in mind. Once the lecture was over everybody went over to their pens and started washing and grooming their animals. Washing Scarlett was an ordeal. She kept trying to run away and twisting her halter. Eventually I got her washed off and proceeded to dry her off. I washed Ellsa relatively quickly then I watched Megan and Maddie shave their goats. After about an hour of fitting we broke for lunch. We discussed the upcoming fairs and whether or not I would be showing my goats.

After lunch I worked on shaving Scarlett. This is easier said than done because once we tried to use the medium blending blade, which was recommended by the instructors, her fur looked choppy because her fur was super thick. What Donna and I did to decrease the choppiness is was use a big blade to get the hair to be a bit thinner than go over it with a medium blending blade. As we were working a rain storm hit us and started pounding on the barn. The storm cooled the fairgrounds down, which was a nice change of pace and it made the animals more cooperative.

Once the program ended we started loading up all the goats. For the most part the goats hopped into the truck but Holly was bleating the whole time because she hates being in the car. Once the goats were situated in the cab of the truck we said out goodbyes and made our way back to Donna’s house.

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The goat after the fitting demonstration

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The ring where we listened to the lecture

 

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The side of the goat that wasn’t blended using adhesive

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One of the goats in the bed of the truck

 

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