By Keiana Cramblett, Club Reporter
COARSEGOLD — As October rolls on, my mom and I are getting ready for farrowing season.
Farrowing is the act of a sow giving birth to a litter of piglets. A sow is a female pig who has farrowed a litter. A pig’s gestation period is 114 days (3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days). A sow’s litter size can vary from 8-12 piglets on average, but
genetics can play a part in litter size, as well as the environment the sow is in.
Two of our sows, Lucy and Shirley, are currently pregnant. Lucy is due at the end of this month and Shirley is due the first week of November.
After the 114 days passes , the sow goes into labor and can be restless for a few hours or up to a day before farrowing. When a sow is almost ready to farrow, she will spray milk.
A few minutes after being born, the piglets are up and walking by themselves, looking to nurse. After a few days the piglet establishes a teat and will use the same teat for the remainder of the nursing period, which at our house is 21 days.
A few days after the piglets are born , my mom and I process them. When we process the piglets, we ear notch them, give an iron shot, and trim their tails to prevent other piglets from chewing it off.
Ear notching is a popular identification process to monitor sick pigs. Ear notching doesn’t hurt the pigs very much as it is very similar to piercing your ears. You clip notches into the piglets ears, and the notches have corresponding numbers.
The piglets grow rapidly. When my mom sells the piglets at two months, they usually weigh 40 – 50 pounds, with a weight at birth of approximately 3 pounds.
I pick my show pig at that point, and I begin the growing process. At 4 months the pigs weigh 150 – 200 pounds. A month before fair I begin to train my pig for show. By training, I don’t mean to teach my pig a bunch of tricks. I take my pig out and teach it to turn, slow down and speed up.
Fair comes and the pigs are 6 months at this point. They weigh 215-280 pounds at this time. Show day is a crazy experience. For swine you show two classes, Market and Showmanship.
Market class is to judge your pig on its market quality, how much it weighs, how much muscle it has and other market components.
Showmanship class is about the exhibitor and how well you can control your pig. You auction your pig off at the fair’s auction, and the process is done.
Then a few months later, a new litter is born and the madness starts again.
Coarsegold 4-H had their own float at this years Heritage Day parade, and our club was awarded 1rst place in the Youth Marching Division.
Achievement Night for record book was this month. Eden Hussey won 3rd place for Sheep, Emma Hussey received County Winner for Vegetable Garden Projects, and Erin McCulley was awarded her Bronze Star and 5th place for Poultry.
The Llama project participated at the Western Regionals, and Makayla Beckstead was awarded 1rst in judging, 2nd in performance, and 3rd in Showmanship.
- Lcourt camp is coming up soon. Lcourt is a 3 day leadership camp for all 4-H members. Our next community meeting is on November 9th , 2017.
- Archery project: next meeting on November 12, at 1:30 pm
- Horse: next meeting on October 23, to take the Horse Expo test.
- Sheep & Goat: Next meeting on November 8.
- Arts and crafts: October 17. We are making Halloween Tic Tac Toe boards this month.
- Community prides project this month is Operation Christmas Child, which is when we fill boxes with an assortment of supplies and send the boxes out throughout the world for less fortunate kids. We received a letter from a boy in El Salvador, telling us he received one of our Operation Christmas child boxes from last year.
- Llama : next meeting is September 26.
- Poultry: November 7 at the Yosemite Bank conference room.
- Swine: we are still working on a date for our first meeting of the year.
- Sewing: November 14. We are making pillows and donating them to Ryan’s case for smiles – a charity for special illnesses.
What is the meaning of 4-H?
What does it mean to be in 4-H ? I get this question often, especially when I am in my fair uniform. Being in 4-H means you are interested in animals , and you want to learn about livestock and agriculture. Being in 4-H means that you are dedicated to helping out the community . 4-H is something that I would recommend to anyone with children. 4-H teaches you to be a leader, to be responsible, and to have a good character. I have been in 4-H for four years now and during that time I have made so many good memories and have made many friends.
To me, 4-H is going out and seeing your animal, mucking out its stall even when you don’t want to, and working hard to get ready for fair. It means getting to fair and seeing all the blood ,sweat and tears yu put into your project pay off.
At this year`s Madera District Fair, Coarsegold 4-H did very well.
Abigail Lespada, a member of the horse project, got 1st in Horse Showmanship and 5th Individual high score for livestock judging. Abigail also participated in this years Round Robin Competition. During Round Robin, you show different species of animals to show your all around showmanship skills.
Eden Hussey, Abagail Lespada, and Emma Hussey made up this years Advanced Livestock Judging Team and Kiden and Sara Lynch were our Novice Livestock Judging Team.
Our club was awarded Overall Advanced High Team, 2nd place High Team Beef, 1st place High Team Swine, 3rd place High Team Sheep, 2nd place High Team Goat and 1rst place High Team reasoning for Livestock judging. Eden Hussey also was awarded 2nd place for individual high score. I placed 6th in advanced 4-H showmanship for swine.
If you would like to join our 4-H, our leader is Pat Strimmling . Contact her about joining at (559)-683-5149. Anyone can join! You don’t have to be a student at Coarsegold Elementary to be a member of Coarsegold 4-H . You can live anywhere in Madera County as long as you can come to our meetings. We offer a multitude of projects, including: Archery, Shooting Sports, Arts & Crafts, Community Pride, Poultry, Swine, Sheep ,Goat and Horse. Our club meetings are at 7 p.m. every second Thursday of the month at the Coarsegold community center. Come join us! We would love to see you at our next meeting.
Madera County 4-H Youth Program is a non-profit organization for youth who are 9 years old or who have completed the 3rd grade and up to 19 years of age. Mini- members accepted from age 7 in select projects. All youth and adults in Madera County are invited to participate in the 4-H Program regardless of race, creed, religion , color, national origin, sex, mental or physical handicap.