Getting Ready for the Livestock Show:
NETLA Show Begins Feb. 23rd
by: Dr. Mario Villarino
It is that time of the year for our 4-H and FFA projects are getting ready for our local county livestock show. Preparations are on its way and NETLA volunteers are putting the pieces together for another exciting livestock show. From feeding and fitting projects, talking to potential buyers, to cooking for our events, the junior livestock show is an event full of activities for members and volunteers.
Our county show, as most of the major shows in Texas, enforce the shearing rule for goats. Because some differences in hair length are allowed at the time of show, it is important to read the show rules prior to clipping your goat for a particular show. It is not always necessary to wash your goat, but it can be beneficial. Use a mild soap sparingly, rinse the animal thoroughly and dry the goat completely. Then, brush your goat with a stiff brush on a regular basis. Brushing removes all the dead hair and dirt. Shear your goat according to show rules at least 2 to 7 days before the show. This will allow clipper tracks to even out and the pink skin to become less apparent. A pair of electric clippers, equipped with either a 20 or 23 tooth comb should be used to ensure a smoother, more attractive goat. While shearing the clippers should run parallel to the length of the body rather than vertically. Hair below the knees and hocks should not be shorn, and the har on the end of the tail should be bobbed. Small animal clippers may be needed to clip closely around the eyes, ears, pasterns, or delicate areas on the goat. If shearing in cold weather, cover your goat with a lamb sock and/or blanket, immediately after shearing. A clean, well-bedded pen should be provided to keep the goat clean and dry.
Most of our 4-H families are reporting good project weight gains and I am sure that memories are getting collected to make this year a special one in our lives. It is important to remember, however, that regardless of the outcome of the show, the most important component of the show is the experience that raising a project brings to our youth. Getting involved in a livestock project provides fundamental life skills and personal satisfaction, well beyond the immediate effect of the show.
Let me invite you to participate in our livestock show this coming week and let's make sure that this year our livestock show is as exciting, rewarding, and safe as possible.
Livestock projects are a major component of our local Hopkins County 4-H Program. For more information on the complete 4-H experience, please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at (903)885-3443.