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Idaho Enterprise

4-H Day Camp

The Oneida County Extension Office held its annual Livestock Day Camp for the 4-H youth of the area Monday, June 14.  In attendance were more than 60 4-H students that will be taking market steers, hogs and lambs to the county fair in August.  The presentations of the Livestock Day Camp were tailored to help them in their animal projects over the summer.

Samatha and Cassidy Schrenk began the presentations by discussing sheep showmanship.  They taught about the various parts of showing sheep, including things like teaching lambs to lead, fitting the lambs prior to showing and how to present them during the show.  Following their discussion, they gave a live demonstration of sheep showmanship.  This was a good opportunity to point out important tips for showing, such as how to hold the lamb while showing, when to stand in regards to the judge and how to set up a lamb.

Oneida County Ag Educator Sawyer Fonnesbeck gave a presentation on animal health and vaccinations and using proper injection sites and techniques when treating sick animals.  The students learned the many ways that cattle, swine and sheep can be treated when they become sick, including medications given with an injection.  

Injections can be given subcutaneously, or under the skin, or intramuscularly, or in the muscle.  Needles specific for each type of injection, help ensure that the medication is delivered to the appropriate site.  Injections should be administered in an animals’ neck and should be avoided in the rump areas.  The students practiced their newly learned techniques by injecting their syringes into a banana, noticing the difference of placing their medications just beneath the skin or into the meat of the banana.

Kord Killpack, the Bear Lake County Extension Agent, taught students about carcass grading and what they need to do to raise their animals to provide the very best meat cuts possible.  The students were taught that carcasses are graded by measuring the amount of marbling in the ribeye found between 12th and 13th rib.  A carcass with a high amount of marbling is graded prime, a carcass with a fair amount of marbling is graded choice, and a carcass with little marbling is graded select.  The marbling fat, fat that makes meat tender and flavorful, is found intramuscularly and scattered amongst the muscle fibers.  Intermuscular fat, fat that is tough and chewy, is found between muscle groups and most often cut off.  Marbling is primarily determined by two things, the animals genetics and feed.  The students created their own steaks from red licorice and marshmallows to demonstrate what makes each grade of steak.

Bracken Henderson of the Franklin County Extension Office led a discussion on good sportsmanship as 4-H competitors, particularly when it comes to writing thank you notes.  The students were reminded that while they were indeed selling their market animals like other producers do, there is a large portion of their earnings that individuals and businesses give to support them in their projects- the floor price (market value) vs the actual selling price.  Because of the generosity of the buyers, all 4-H youth should make time to write a respectful and sincere Thank You note.  These notes should include the 5 G’s- a Greeting, Gratitude for support, Goals for earnings, Gratefulness for generosity and an appropriate Goodbye.

Justin Hatch-Caribou County Extension Educator  presented a final discussion of the importance of animal housing.  After talking over the important components of animal housing, including a shelter, feed, water and an appropriately sized pen, the students designed their own pens using toy animals, panels, bunks, and shelters.  Visualizing the placement of the various elements helped them learn important things like keeping their feed away from where the animals drink and poop and  about having the right amount of space for each animal type or the number of animals.  

Learning these important lessons of showing animals, giving injections, designing an appropriate housing facility, evaluating meat carcasses and having good ethics by appropriately thanking buyers will help these 4-H students to be more successful as they carry out their market animal projects over the next several months as they prepare for the Oneida County Fair.  

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