|Posted by Afton Blight on August 21, 2013 at 9:40 PM||comments (1)|
The 2013 Calhoun County fair week has ended. All projects have been awarded ribbons and livestock have been judged. Two days before the pigs were due to arrive at the fair, one of Kaleb's choice pigs collided with a penmate while running around the yard during their exercise time. Pigs often get silly like this and it's funny to watch, but this time the gilt (female pig) injured her leg during this rambunctious act and could not be taken to the fair because she walked with a limp. A...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on August 3, 2013 at 10:35 PM||comments (1)|
All year Kelsie and Kaleb have been keeping track of the expenses and feed costs associated with their 4-H swine projects. Each Swine Club member is required to fill out a packet of information about their fair project known as feed records. By recording all feed fed and costs it is easy to calculate some important numbers and ratios like average daily gain, the amount of feed fed per pound of gain, total project expense, and estimated break-even price among others. The 4-H'ers also answer qu...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on July 21, 2013 at 10:05 PM||comments (1)|
There are three weeks until the Calhoun County Fair begins. Each pig must weigh between 220-280 pounds to be shown and sold at the fair and when the Weitzels weighed them last week, most of the pigs tipped the scale around 250 pounds. As a result, the pigs are now on a restricted diet. It is difficult to predict how the pigs will handle the summer heat and daily exercise sessions but this group of pigs has not decreased their feed consumption and have kept gaining weight.
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|Posted by Afton Blight on July 7, 2013 at 9:35 PM||comments (1)|
So how do you control a pig around the show ring? You can't, really. All you can do is train it leading up to fair and hope it cooperates when you enter the show arena. As Kaleb demonstrates in the video, the pig is tapped on the right side to make it go to the left and then tapped on the left side to make it turn to the right.
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|Posted by Afton Blight on July 1, 2013 at 9:10 PM||comments (1)|
Kelsie and Kaleb have been getting their pigs acquainted to being steered around a small arena in the barn and decided they were ready to venture outside for some real exercise. All seven pigs, Stan, Kaleb, Kelsie, their younger brother and sister, and two dogs all went for a walk down the lane. This will become a routine that the pigs enjoy everyday and as fair week approaches the pigs will be walked in both the morning and in the evening.
The pigs aren't usually so dirty b...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on June 23, 2013 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
This month's Swine Club meeting focused on showmanship skills. During the fair, each swine club participant gets two opportunities to show their animal. On the first day of showing, the judge is evaluating the young person and how they work with their pig, this is called Showmanship. The next day, the each animal is judged by their physical characteristics and perceived meat quality and cutability.
Each showman is encouraged to work with their pigs in the months prior to fai...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on June 4, 2013 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
Now that Kelsie has officially graduated from high school and Kaleb is finishing his classes soon, the real fun begins. These 4-H'ers will now begin to train their pigs how to walk while being guided in the direction the kids want them to go. It doesn't sound that complicated, but trying to get an animal that is not harnessed to walk a specific route is no small task. Kaleb and Kelsie use a small fenced in arena to first familiarize their pigs with the direction guiding process but they also ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on May 20, 2013 at 10:30 PM||comments (1)|
The pigs are now at home and enjoying the nice spring weather. Each of the six pigs under Kaleb and Kelsie's care has a name, they include: Big Mama, Oreo, Marshmallow Puff, Masked Bandit 1, Masked Bandit 2, and No Name. The pigs have fresh water at all times and all-they-can-eat feed plus a few graham crackers for a treat, which they love (especially Big Mama)!
Once a month all the Swine Club members meet to discuss how to care for their animals, what to look for in a quali...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on April 23, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
Every year Blight Farms raises a few pigs specifically for 4-H members. These pigs are minimally different from those in our normal herd but we ensure they are born in February (so they will be the appropriate size for the fair), and the 4-H pigs tend to have a more defined muscle structure. In the photos, Kelsie and Kaleb are selecting what they believe are the best looking pigs for this years project. They may ea...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Afton Blight on April 17, 2013 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
4-H is the nation's largest youth development organization. It aims to provide youth with challenges and "learn by doing" opportunities which promote responsibility, skill expansion, leadership, and self discovery. 4-H members are mentored and advised by adults but urged to take charge of their own projects and advance them from one year to the next.
Participants in the 4-H livestock clubs are given the opportunity to manage all aspects of their animals. Each student in the...Read Full Post »