4-H Animals? Just wanting some experience/advice.
I'm looking into joining the livestock portion of 4-H this upcoming (my junior) school year, and I'm just looking into pros, cons, advice, etc from you guys, as there's bound to be atleat a few of you who did this as kids.
I have the options of raising rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, heifers, or steers in my area. I'm wondering what the best would be for me, what the initial investment (money) would be, the differences in cost between the types of animal, scholarships available, time requirements, and such are like. I have the option of keeping whatever animal I choose at our farm, but if at all possible would like to board it somewhere that I can have it stalled (we only have pasture, and it would have to share said pasture with other animals, increasing chances of injury) or penned seperately so that is going to play a big part in what I get. What type of place should I inquire at to get a show quality animal? Where should I look for boarding? Obviously not a horse farm, like I'm accustomed to.
I suppose I'm just wanting any information that you guys are willing to spare me ^^
Talk to your leaders or 4-H agent. I see that you are in TX -- what area?
I'd suggest rabbits or broilers as a jumping off point.
The bigger the animal the larger the price tag.
A steer or heifer at minimum is going to cost you $600 (at least around here). A show pig is about $200 but I have seen people who camp out at the auction, get a $50 piglet and do just fine (these people KNOW what they are looking for though). Goats aren't much cheaper.
If you want to get your feet wet inexpensively, get a rabbit or chicken. Bonus is that they are easily housed!
:D ive been raising rabbits for years! Ive been i 4h for 9 years. Horses, dog, cat, hamsters, rats, birds, chicken, hedgehog, ferret, and rabbits . Here the rabbit shows take forever. Theres so many rabbits and if you make it to the last round.. your there forever. I highly recommend rabbit and other small animal projects. Very fun and low stress. 4h horse judges here are very very prejudiced. Most of the time. Overall fair and the projects are very fun. Small animal and rabbits/chicken/small barnlivestock are the cheapest to raise and show. Brush and clip nails and put on the table. Small animal(hamster, ferret, ect) Judges look for good teeth, fur type, lear eyes, no dirt around nose, ect. Very easy. Aslong as the animal is healthy and groomed, and well socialized youre good. Now with horse and livestock its more expensive. Of course feeding a rabbit from home compared to paying for livestock feed is huge. 12$ for a 50pound bag for bunnies/chicken/goat grain to 16$ for one bag of grain for cow/horse that you have to buy everyweek. The 50pound for bunnies and chicken will last over a month for a pack of chicken, rabbits, quail,ect. To start with id get a rabbit or chicken for a starting animal so you get the easiest first year instead of stressing over bigger animals and getting confused.
Like said above, a rabbit will cost around 25$ for a pet quaility. If you want fair better the prices around to 45-80. But thats if you geat a very well confo and bloodlined bunny.chickens are bout 5$ again, pending on quality. Horses, you should know how much they cost! Lol.
So apparently everything is different here. If you're looking for a first time project that's cheap, rabbits would be the best way to go. I showed breeding and meat pen. Meat pen would be easiest. You show three rabbits that are of high quality, from the same litter preferably, and that are as identical as possible. Broilers are surprisingly expensive to raise. I showed turkeys, and feeding four of them cost about 80 bucks a month. There were people at the barn who would insulate their pens and air condition their chickens all summer long. As with the chickens, you show three that are well conformed and identical as possible. For turkeys, you can show a turkey Tom or turkey hen, or both. If you didn't want to raise rabbits, your next best net would be a goat. They're the cheapest of the larger prospects, but take time to properly train to show. I believe goats are the hardest to show, I raised ten of them hehe, out of all the animals I raised. I raised breeding and meat pen rabbits, pigs, a lamb, turkey toms
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And goats. Goats wee by far my favorite, and always will be :)
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I think the object is for "YOU", to raise and care for the animals. Doesnt seem right to call it a 4 H project and then drop it off at a boarding barn.
My youngest daughter has done 4H and FFA for years now. We just sold her market lamb at Fair this last weekend. We have done hogs, rabbits and this year a lamb. Rabbits were her least favorite. Lambs by far her most favorite. Hogs seem to make the most money for some reason. The lamb cost us $350 to purchase then about an additional $100-150 in feed/expenses etc. We keep ours at home versus our school barn. I also have other sheep/goats but due to the specific feeding requirements of a market animal they cannot be housed with or left to pasture with others. We built it a separate pen and shelter. Our school requires once a month visits back to school for weigh ins and showmanship practices so a way to transport back and forth was required. These are just some of the things I can think of off the top of my head for my daughters situation. Whatever you choose I think 4H and/or FFA are fabulous programs and such a great choice to get involved in :)
I only showed horses in 4-H, didn't have time for anything else. Some of the other livestock the kids do really well with. I watched some of the sale of champions at our state fair a couple years ago and was shocked at the prices some of them were bringing! The champion steer went for over 40k, champion barrow went for 20k, goats in the 8-9k range, and market lambs that went almost 15k. When I was showing in 4-H there were a few times I wished I could run my old dun mare across the auction block at the end of fair week :lol:
Lamb/goat would be my pick from an enjoyable standpoint. Pig/steer was not my cup o'tea (hated that part of round robin showmanship round). Poultry is okay....not as much hands on as a four legged project. What level of time and financial investment do you want to make? I would suggest talking to kids at this years fair, asking some serious questions, discuss animal location and care requirements with your extension office (re your desire to board.....this may be an issue as part of the project is you providing care for the animal) and going from there.
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