When I was growing up, I never wanted to do 4H even though my brothers did. I just wanted to run and play sports. Now I know why. I am a sissy and too sensitive. I am sometimes surprised that I can handle the sad parts of my job.
This week we put down our last two pigs that we raised this spring and summer. The other two were raised by my kids (Jerry and Hyde) for 4H and they have been gone since the fair. It took me a couple weeks to recover from that. Now Tom and Jekyll are gone too. My mornings of calling “pig, pig, pig” and tossing food over the fence are gone. It’s the little things in life that are sometimes the most special.
Pigs are one of my favorite animals; so fun to pet their coarse hair and watch them roll onto the ground for belly rubs. Watching them sprint through the mud is pretty cool too, I am astonished at how fast those 300 pound pigs go.
Being involved as a parent this year, gave me a new admiration for 4H. I am convinced that 4H is one of the best activities you can get your kids involved in. I was actually disappointed in myself for not doing it as a child. But, so happy that my son Lincoln (age 15) and daughter Lily (age 13) are involved. They are in the Ramsey Raiders, lead by excellent leaders that have been doing 4H for decades. My kids have learned a new sense of responsibility and new skills:
- Learning how to “pick” the best pigs from farms that have hundreds
- Getting up early every day to feed and take care of them
- Calculating appropriate feeding schedules to get optimal weight gain
- Exercise and train the pigs
- Teaching pigs how to respond to you and make necessary adjustments so they can “show” well in the ring
- Watching the pig’s health and tracking it
- Doing projects that help them learn more about livestock
It’s almost like my kid’s first “job”. I was very proud of them! Both of their pigs sold at the fair. One sold for $4.25 per lb and the other for $3.75/lb. Thank you Trent Munyer, CRNA and Parker Toyota for your support with purchasing pigs. Trent plans on having a big pig roast with Jerry, I will attend but not sure I will be able to eat, due to being a sissy.
I am thankful I don’t have to go to Cenex for a while to get more pig food and de-wormer. I am sure the staff will miss my irritating pig questions…Yeah right! Active Family was able to make our first 4H purchase this year also. We bought Mack (sibling was Cheese lol) from Serena Archer. To see a child light up with happiness from selling their animal is absolutely priceless. Completely made my day!
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a good program for your children, even if you do not have space for animals, you should look into 4H. They have a lot of programs that do not include actually raising animals. Your kids will love it also.