Welcome

Welcome to The Blue Ribbon - Youth Livestock Projects blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide information, advice and suggestions for improving youth livestock projects from multiple sources. The information, advice and suggestions in this blog come from professional agricultural educators who have multiple years of experience working with youth and their livestock projects. If you ever have a question or a particular subject you would like addressed, please feel free to contact Scott Stinnett via email, or leave a comment and we will do our best to assist or address the subject. Should the question or subject be more technical, we will help direct you to an appropriate resource for the best possible answer.

Thank you,

Scott Stinnett and The Blue Ribbon Contributors

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Importance of Saying Thank You

     This post is not directly helpful to raising an animal, but is more about the importance of being thankful and how to show it. I do not know a youth who has been able to successfully complete all the task and chores of a livestock project without the help of someone else. This help may come from a sibling, parent, adult volunteer, sponsor, extension agent or FFA advisor.

     Simply saying thank you is the easiest way to start showing appreciation. Make sure the person you are thanking knows why you appreciate them. I encourage youth to start with an in person thank you. Look the person in the eye, shake their hand and tell the "Thank you for ...", and thank them for what they did for you. If you know the person well, like a family member or close family friend, a hug might even be appropriate and well received.

     Thank you cards are the next best way to show appreciation. This is a little more formal and takes a little more effort, but for the price of a card, a stamp and a few minutes of your time, a thank you card can go a long way. You might send a thank you card to someone you might not have the opportunity to meet, such as a person or business that sponsored an award at a livestock show or contest. A thank you card would be appropriate to send to someone who has been helpful over a long period of time. I have known of youth who even write thank you cards to their parents for the years of support and encouragement.

     A gift might be appropriate for someone who has gone above and beyond in support of a you. Gifts do not need to be expensive or even store bought. Homemade and handmade gifts are always well appreciated. Think about saying thank you with a card and some homemade cookies or other sweets. A framed picture of the you and your project, or you and the person being thanked helps mark the time spent together and can be a great reminder of the your appreciation of them. Some youth even "retire" or give special items from their livestock projects to show their appreciation. Maybe it is the first halter from the first calf they had shown, an award banner or buckle from a show where the person's help was a great part of the success.


Thank you cards are a simple, yet formal way to let someone
know how much they are appreciated.

    The main point is to make that extra effort to say thank you to someone who has made an extra effort to help you. Learn to shake hands and say thank you. Learn to write a thank you card. These two simple things can become great habits for you to learn and carry over into adult life.



Scott Stinnett
Extension Associate
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension

Friday, May 12, 2017

What's in My Show Box - Pigs

   It is overwhelming the amount of supplies available to show a pig. Some products have very specific purposes, and some are more trendy than useful. Some items are great to have at home for grooming and working with your pig, but there is no need to load the whole barn to go to a pig show.

     Here is a packing list of items to take to a pig show and the reasons why you should take them.

Feeding and Nutrition
  • Feed - Bring all the feed you are feeding at home. Pre-measure the amounts and bring enough to feed for the duration of the show plus a little extra. This will keep you from bringing full bags and containers of feeds.
  • Supplements - If you supplement at home, supplement at the show. Pigs can be very sensitive to diet changes. Removing a supplement for a show, may cause some problems by being missing in your pigs diet or when you get home and re-introduce it.
  • Feed measuring cup - You need to know how much your pig is eating. Bringing your measuring cup from home will keep you from guessing and accidentally feeding too much or too little.
  • Feeder - Bring your own feeder. Sharing or borrowing a feeder is a bad way to expose your pig to a new illness. Be sure and clean the feeder after you leave the show as well.
  • Waterer - Bringing a water bucket or a tube style waterer is just as important as a feeder. Do not share or borrow one and clean it after you leave the show.
  • Beet pulp and Oats - These feeds are great for a pig with an upset stomach. If a pig gets a little stressed at the show and goes off feed, wet oats and beet pulp are a great solution to settle your pig's stomach.
Bedding
  • Shavings - Shavings would be the best bedding for swine, especially if the show is held on a hard floor like concrete. Bring at least 2 bags per pig, per day. If you are staying several days, bring plenty or find out if shavings can be purchased at the show. Shavings should be cleaned or replaced regularly to remove manure or urine.
  • Straw  - Straw is great bedding when it is cold, but is not always allowed since it is hard to sweep up. One half of a bale per pig is great to let them burrow into to stay warm. Straw should be clean and free of any seeds or weeds. Those can cause skin irritation.
Washing and Grooming Supplies
  • Short water hose - Not every wash rack provides a hose. Bring one for washing and filling water.
  • Spray nozzle - This will help you control water flow and not blast you pig with high pressure. You can also turn the water off while scrubbing in soap and conditioners.
  • Shampoo - Shampoo is for cleaning the body. Use a shampoo that is labeled for pigs. Pigs have sensitive skin so using something else may cause an irritation.
  • Large towels - After washing and rinsing, pigs need to be dried, especially if the show barn is a little chilly. Dry is warmer than wet. Get them dry quickly and then a dry towel can be used to keep the drafts and dust off of them while going back to the pens or trailer.
  • Waterless shampoo - If wash racks are not available or you need to do a quick spot cleaning, a waterless shampoo works great.
  • Small towels and wash cloths - These are great for a quick wiping off of skin conditioners like baby oil or wiping away, mud, manure or other things that get on your pig.
  • Baby oil - Pigs get dry skin especially in the wintertime or after a bath. Baby oil can help to put moisture back into their skin.
  • Skin and hair conditioners - These products give your pig a shine or sheen and help make the skin and hair healthier.
  • Grill brick - Use this like a pumice block to gently remove dry, scaly skin. Remember the key, gently. Don't scrub too hard with it.
Show Tack
  • Show whip or pipe - These are used to help guide or drive your pig in the show ring. Find one that is the right length to fit you (should allow you to reach you pig's head when you stand behind them). Be sure to use the same type you practiced showmanship at home.
  • Brushes - Brushes are used to clean off what can get on your pig in the show ring. Brushes can either be small enough to hold in your hand while showing or have a handle to slide in your jean's pocket.
  • Safety pins or belt clip - If the show requires a showman number, safety pins or a belt clip are great for holding your paper number.
Paperwork
     Depending on the show you are going to and where it is located, these pieces of paperwork may be needed.
  • Health papers - Many states require a set of health papers before pigs can be gathered together at a show. Be sure to check with the show and with your veterinarian to get the right health papers before you head out.
  • Ownership papers/Registration papers - Keep original copies of sales receipts and registration papers with you at the show. Since swine can look very similar and have the same ear notches, papers to prove ownership are the best way to prevent any question about ownership.
     I hope this list helps you put together the tack and equipment you might need at your first few shows. There may be some things you may want to add or delete from this list as you start going to shows.

      I want to thank my friend Jeff Spake, agricultural education teacher and FFA Advisor in Arnett, Oklahoma, for helping put this blog together. Jeff has been involved with showing and raising swine projects since he was a 4-H member and continues to help his FFA members and local 4-H youth with their swine projects.

Scott Stinnett
Extension Associate
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension