State Fair - 1

This is a 4Her preparing his sheep for competition. This sheep has longer wool than the one below. I asked him why... This is a breeder sheep, and that's the way it's done.


Have you ever been to the county fair? Back in the back. Behind the rides and the veggie-matic salesman, are the livestock barns. There you can find pigs, goats, cattle, chickens, and my favorite: sheep. Did you also notice the kids hanging out, laughing, sweeping, washing lambs? So what's going on there?

Before the fair, kids from 9 to 18 join 4H or FFA and enroll in a Market Lamb or Breeding Sheep project. There they learn about raising sheep, feeding lambs, disease control, breeding sheep, fitting lambs and sheep. Oh just all sorts of stuff.

Then they buy a lamb from a club lamb breeder. Usually at least 60 days before the fair. During that 60 days they are responsible for all the daily feeding and care of the lamb. They also learn how to show a lamb, how to brace a lamb, and how to setup the lamb for the judge.

Finally, the County Fair opens and all the lambs get moved to the fair grounds. This is where most people see all the confusion and fun. The 4H and FFA kids are taking care of all the last minute washing and shearing in preparation for the sheep show.

The sheep show is the highlight of the fair for me. All the kids are wearing their best show clothes. The lambs are washed and fitted out with care. The excitement really starts when the judge enters the ring. "Is my lamb too fat?" "Can I make it brace?" "What is he going to ask me?"

You can almost hear the kids thinking and worrying.

After the judging, the ribbons, and the pressure, comes the auction. What a mix of emotions. You're happy the lamb show is over. You're glad your market lamb project is complete, but your a little sad that the lamb is being sold.

On the other hand, you can join a Breeding Sheep or a Wool Breed (like Merino) project. Then there is all the fun of the fair, and preparing your breeding ewe or purebred ram, but your animal comes back home.

So whether it is a wether at the market lamb jackpot, or a suffolk breeding ewe in full wool, the county fair is a great place to be. You get to meet people, show-off your livestock skills, and enjoy the fun and competition.

I was told by one of the breeders that the pigs ears are notched to record the number of pigs in the litter, which one it is and other information that allows the pig to be identified.

State Fair - 1