Saturday, November 10, 2012

4H Fur and Feathers Show

Farmers G and C are in 4H and their project right now is poultry. We started off trying to use the chickens we already had, but soon realized that they're too big to be handled properly by little hands. The show was supposed to start at 9AM. We got up at 7ish this morning and dashed to the ranch to get the chores done. The boys changed into their shirts before we zipped out of there and journied to the University of Arizona Agricultural Center.

Concerned we'd be very late, we resigned ourselves to standing by and watching in case we missed registration. We made it there with time to spare, but the lines to register were long. This show featured Cavy (Guinea Pigs), Rabbits, Chickens, Pigeons, and Pygmy Goats. We had fun watching all the kids go by, toting or leading their critters. The pygmy goats were hilarious. They resemble our Nigerians except that their legs are so much shorter and stockier.

Everything was well organized. There was a long table of donated items to be raffled off. I gave two baskets of goat milk soap. (A lot of people tried for those!) Someone else donated a pedigreed dwarf bunny. There were even canned goods, clothes, animal accessories, chicken scratch and so much more.

Waiting for the Junior Novice Show
The snack bar provided hot dogs and hamburgers and the usual suspects like chips and drinks. It was very affordable and not overcrowded. The boys and I had hamburgers and chips while we waited.

Gabe and Fluffball
First to show were the more experienced children. Our group has 15 kids in it, so we knew participants in every category. It was great to see such a huge turnout. What I enjoy most about 4H is how the older children really encorage and teach the new ones. We have had a lot of help from them, from answering basic questions to cheerleading for them as they showed.

Needless to say, it was quite a wait. There was so much to see though. While we waited, the boys took turns getting quizzed by Abby (girl in their group who had obviously studied well for this show). The three of them let their chickens play together and took turns challenging each other on the parts of the wing, why you show certain areas of the chicken and what to look for in heatlthy birds.

Abby's father and I had coffee (with goat milk that I'd squeezed out that morning) and shared stories. He had worked on a dairy farm years prior and explained that they would milk the cows there three to four times a day! He had worked with Holsteins and Guernseys.

The kids did really well being patient. When they got restless, we walked around to check out the animals. One lady was selling meat breed rabbits and was very helpful and informative about how she raises them and what breeds would be good to show in case the boys wanted to go into rabbits. (Eeek!)

Abby in the forefront, Farmer G, Farmer C.
By the time it was Junior Novice participants' turn, most people had left and we had nearly the whole arena to ourselves. The children lined up with their birds and did their best posing the animals, showing all the parts and answering questions about their particular bird and general questions too.

As soon as the judge began walking down the line, my boys became very solemn faced. They focussed on the judge and tried their best. As predicted, our new buddy Abby took first place with the most points. Gabe was second and Christian was third. Many of the children in this group received blue ribbons for their efforts.

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