Here's What's Great About 4-H!
4-H is more than just raising cattle. It's about responsibility, patience, caring, and respect.
I'm a member of the Colorado 4-H. A lot of work goes into raising animals. Taking care of a cow is not as easy as caring for a household pet. And I don’t have just one cow. I have SEVEN cows to take care of! Five of them are my own!
Cows need water and food like any living creature. My cattle have hay and water available to them 24/7, especially this time of year. My cows also get walked often to tame them and prepare them for show.
Dairy cows have different personalities, making it a different experience for each animal I work with. Some are sweet. Some are bossy and mean (I’ve been kicked in the face and run over).
My cattle are also washed every day at the fair to cool them down and make sure they don't have manure and dirt spots all over them. They are also clipped before fair. Clipping is pretty much a “buzz cut” the animal, except for their back, which is made into a “Mohawk.”
Cows also have to get veterinarian checks, hoof trims, vaccines, and be dehorned (if they have horns), just to name a few more of the things I have to keep track of!
This takes a lot of commitment—you have to have the time to love and care for your animal every day. It’s a huge responsibility.
4-H has given me the learning experience that comes with raising an animal. I’ve learned responsibility, patience, caring, and respect just by raising cows. I’ve also made some amazing friends along the way that I would never have met.
4-H means a whole lot to me and I suggest that you try it if it's available in your school. You don't have to have room to raise cows in your backyard to get involved. There are many other projects you can do. It’s a truly amazing experience.
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Topanga McBride shows off her Holstein heifer Celcie at the 2009 Colorado State Fair. (Photo Courtesy of Topanga McBride)