Getting Ready for Livestock Shows!
Earlier on the week as I was doing project visits for 4-H and I got talking to a family mentor, I noticed something I never did before: How the family mentor (in this case a grandfather) provides care for the projects (in this case was a beef and poultry projects), his true involvement and commitment for the development of the projects and the kids he is mentoring. As we get ready for the NETLA show February 26-28, 2015, at the Regional Civic Center Arena, our 4-H poultry projects are getting fully feathered and the first culling is needed to take place. During my visit we talked about poultry, the purpose of the show and how to maintain optimal even growth in the few last weeks before the show. When small, poultry needs controlled temperature (90-95F) and training on feeding and drinking, since they rely on mutual learning to acquire those vital skills. Once they are fully feathered, those birds will require more space and flock dominance is starting to show. Also, sexual differences begin to get noticed. It is recommended then to separate those pens making selection of the best birds and getting them ready for the show. Keeping proper temperature is a challenge with our variable weather, and sometimes, keeping them alive pass the downy stage (yellow feather stage) is good enough!. As the birds grow, they will be gaining weight rapidly and will start getting meat into their body structure. Because poultry project are so sensitive to changes, any drastic difference will affect weight gain causing growth stunts. We have 4-H members growing all kinds of projects for our livestock shows. We should have good representation of 4-H at the NETLA show this year. Our 4-H members also participate in major shows. Just recently, the junior dairy showmanship at the Fort Worth Dairy Show was won by one of our 4-H members and our junior dairy livestock judging team placed high in state and district competitions. Kuddos to all those 4-H participants and parents involved as mentors in our livestock shows. It is really rewarding for me to see their diligent work during the development of livestock projects with youth.