It is April and that is when the work starts for most all of our 4-H and FFA projects. Pigs, lambs and goats have been purchased and now is the time to get cattle ready for the coolers.
One of the most important things that can be done to your pigs, lambs and goats, is to make sure that all animals have been vaccinated and a strategic deworming program is scheduled on your calendar. Worming religiously every month for your cattle, pig and sheep projects is a must. Goats need to be wormed every two weeks to help your project reach their genetic potential.
Knowing what your animal weighs right now is paramount to the success of your project. Deciding what your animal should weigh and when, determines the maturity level and freshness of your animal on show day and will make the difference between being a champ or a chump. We need to have a plan now, so we don’t get any surprises later down the road on the weights of our animals. A set of scales is not a receptacle for feed bags or buckets; but a valuable tool to making your project the best it can be. Don’t procrastinate on getting your animals off to a right start. Weighing them when you get them home and devise a feeding strategy that is flexible to making your animal reach their genetic potential in a timely fashion for show day. KNOWING WHAT YOUR ANIMAL WEIGHS AND HOW MUCH FEED THEY ARE EATING IS A MUST!!!
As far as the cattle projects go, NOW is the time to have all your old, dead, hair shucked out if you have a July or August Fair. Remember hair grows in a 120 cycle, so it will take 120 days from the day you get your old hair out, until you have a totally new coat of hair. Also remember sunlight is not your friend in the cattle arena. We need to keep these calves out of daylight so get them in before sunrise, and don’t turn them out until after sundown. Changing the length of day encourages hair growth, so the less sunlight seen, the more the calf will be in tune to grow hair. If you are rinsing your calves now, make sure you rinse them long enough to lower body temperature.
Remember: THE WORK YOU DO NOW UNTIL YOUR FAIR, WILL HAVE A DECIDING FACTOR IN THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF YOUR PROJECT. In closing: If it is to be; it’s up to me. Look at the person in the mirror- he or she will dictate between backdrops and banners or stalls and sidelines. It’s all up to you!