I have learned A LOT over these past few months living the country life. One of them being farm animals. Having kids raise animals to sell at the county fair is a BIG thing in this area. Last year we moved in right before the fair and so didn't have the chance to have this experience. This year we were iffy... o.k it was I that was iffy if we were going to participate or not. Most of the kids have their choice of raising goats, sheep, steer's or pigs. Frankly with Kory's schedule I knew that the majority of the help the kids would need in "raising" these animals would fall on my shoulders. Having 5 kids to raise by myself it seems lately why would I want to raise animals too?
Hunter wanted to do a steer but to buy one we were looking at $800-1,000. We don't have that kind of money and second I REFUSE to raise something that is as tall as I am and out weighs me by several hundred pounds. Let's not forget I grew up in Vegas. I have no idea what to do with a steer! I also wasn't a big fan of goats. Last year Kory's brother brought about 10 of his to our yard so that they could "mow" our grass/weeds and volunteer tree's. Those darn things CONSTANTLY got out of there made up fence. Being they are nocturnal it was without fail that on a daily basis they would get out around dusk. If I took the sometimes 2 hours to gather them all back up into there pen they'd just get out a few hours later AGAIN!! They loved to run up and down my wrap around porch during the night. It echoed so badly. I felt like I didn't get any sleep until close to dawn when they'd finally settle down. It also didn't help that twice last spring while I was trying to "help" a goat that had gotten himself "stuck" in a wire fence that dang thing rammed me with his horns and sent me flying to the ground. So again the goats were out in my book. Then we've got to talk about the sheep. They bellow if that's the correct term and can be quite loud. I know it's a bit selfish but I don't paticularly like cutting Kory's hair or my boys. To me it would be worth the $20 a month to have someone else do it. I'm just not fond of cutting hair. Why oh why would I want to shave a sheep that probably has 10x the amount of hair/fur/wool whatever you want to call it? I have a hard enough time getting my 3 year old to sit still for a 5 minute haircut. How am I suppose to shave a sheep? That leaves us with pigs. At the beginning of Spring we were told that pigs were very hard to come by. When we learned that we might not be able to get them this year I'll be honest I didn't shed a tear. We let everyone know that we'd still be interested in getting pigs but if they were that hard to get this year instead of getting one for each of the 3 oldest at $150 a piece we'd only get one and have all the kids share it. After almost a month went by and I thought I was out of the woods. Then one weekend when we were out of town Kory gets a call saying his brother-in-law was on his way home with a trailor full of pigs. The seller, in Idaho, had plenty of pigs and so 3 pigs were bought for our family at $175 a piece. Not only were we not going to be home when our pigs would be delivered, we hadn't made arrangements for the pigs to live anywhere nor did we have feed! And.... I only wanted one at $150. Not 3 at $175. Oh happy days for me! I was not happy!!!!
Let's just say Kory spent some time on his phone figuring everything out.
Needless to say we didn't start our 1st year of raising farm animals the right way. This past weekend was our County Fair. We loaded up our pigs friday morning at 8am to head down to the fair corrals. On our way out of town I was informed that because Hunter is in 4-H he was suppose to wear a white shirt with the 4-H patch. I don't know about any other mom's but I don't normally buy my kids ANYTHING in white. It just doens't stay white! Especially since moving to the country. Lucky for us I had bought Hunter a white polo shirt about 4 years ago on clearance in a size that would fit him now. I guess worse case scenario he would have had to wear his white church shirt. As far as the patch goes.... We were just out of luck for this year!
When we unloaded our pigs they had to go through a special shoot that weighed them. Thank heavens they all weighed over 200 pounds so they made the cut in weight. The "perfect" pig should weigh 250-260 pounds or so we've been told. Hunter's pig weighed 256. Madelyn's 243 and Emily's 244. Not bad! We put them in our assigned stalls and then waited for our turn to use the "baths".
Oh my! Oh my! I thought I could get wet bathing my toddler's. By the time we were done bathing the 3 pigs we were just drenched. It's a good thing mom thought to make everyone wear dingy clothes to bathe the pigs in.
Miss Emily bathing her pig.
Madelyn and her pig.
Finally Friday afternoon came the big event. Here's Hunter "showing" his pig. He basicly walks his pig around the arena with a pig stick. There's about 6 other kids his age in the arena with there pigs and the judge. The judge "judges" the pig. He tells the audience the good things about what he see's in each pig and what pigs he thinks could use some more time on feed. Hunter did good for his 1st year.
Madelyn missed the cutoff and so she is in the pee wee 4-H. They didn't have to wear the white shirts which I was quite happy about since she doesn't own an all white shirt. I didn't care for how the schedule had the 4-H (older kids) go 1st and then the pee wee. Hunter showed his pig about 5pm. Madelyn didn't show her's until after 8pm.
Emily "showed" even later. Grandpa Christensen was here and so he went into the arena with her to "help".
As I said, I've learned a lot this year.
Next year IF we do pigs again things will be done differently.
I want my kids to have the proper clothing and the patches to wear that most of the other kids had. It didn't matter if they were in pee wee or not. During the sale it was funny to see some of the kids "make up" there animals. For instance goats had bows attached to there horns. Pigs were covered in glitter! Who would have thought? From the very beginning I have felt like things were just thrown at us with no warning, no time to be prepared for what we were suppose to do with the pigs and it NEVER stopped! Everything was so last minute it. It was always, "Oh by the way....".
The kids did O.K with their sale. We are about $330 into each pig. Hunter's pig sold for $450. Madelyn's sold for $475 and Emily's sold for $550. Kory and I both think the only reason Emily's sold for higher was becuase people took pitty on the "little girl with the broken leg" out in the arena.
Next year we are NOT buying pigs at $175 a piece. I think that was just ridiculous but I understand the buyer who bought them was trying to find a place he could buy 20+ pigs from for everyone in town. At the time I was seeing "show pigs" on KSL and Craigslist for $50-80 a piece but they only had 1-2 pigs. Next year we'll buy our own pigs. Lesson's were learned this year and now we'll know a bit more for next year. We did alright for our 1st year!