NickoleBy Nickole Ryan

Guest Contributor

BOONE COUNTY – I would like to share with you information on my lamb project.   This was my fourth year choosing a lamb to show.

It seems like each year we learn more and more about shows and animals.   This year was one of them.   We went to a farm to choose our lambs.   That was exciting trying to figure out which one to pick.

I typically like to go for cuteness, but know that isn’t always a good and only choice. I picked my lamb out and named him “Speckles”. He has white speckles by his ears, so it seemed fitting.

Once at home it takes much work to care for animals.   We fed them by weighing the food on a scale so not to overfeed them.   We walk them, play with them, pet them, water them, clean the sheep pen and spend time handling them so they are used to being touched.

Well, I quickly learned that Speckles was a bit of a pig when it came to eating. Usually we would feed the lambs away from one another, meaning several feet apart in the barn but not being tied up.

Speckles would eat really fast (faster than the other 2 lambs) and wander over and help himself to his neighbors food.   That did not work well because Speckles got bloated. His tummy was pretty chubby!

My mom called the vet and our vet told us to give it Pepto Bismol.   How the heck do you do that?   We measured out the Pepto Bismol and used an old turkey baster to draw it up in.   We held the lamb, opened his mouth and inserted the turkey baster into his mouth and squirted it down his throat.   We spend a great deal of time laughing.

The lamb had pink all over it and so didn’t we.Speckles kept licking and chewing and all you could see was pink.   I must say, his breath smelt a whole lot better though!

We walked Speckles a lot to keep his intestines moving and switched him to hay.   After a few days, he was much better.   We learned from that point on that the lambs need to be harnessed and tied up to eat so they eat only their food and no one else’s!

It was time to get ready for the fair.   We spend a great deal of time walking the lambs to build up muscle tone.   We would set them up outside and set their legs and do tickles (squeeze on the back and buttock area) so they would be used to a judge touching them.   They were doing a great job.   I can say I felt ready for the fair.

We got to the fair, and Speckles I believe, did not want to be there.   Our first 4-H show was Wednesday morning.   I tried to get Speckles out of the pen and he jumped and was very uncooperative!

I placed a harness on him to help me out (thank goodness I did that)!   I walked him out on his harness and set him in place in the show ring.   He was really naughty!   He wouldn’t let me set his legs and all he did was jump!   He would jump and I would pull his harness and try to reset him.   The judge came by to touch Speckles, and would you believe Speckles jumped?   He sure did! He jumped and I put him back in place and he would jump again.   I felt like he should not have been in the sheep show but maybe the rodeo would be a better fit.   I sure got a work out with him.   Thursday and Friday evening show was not much better.

He I guess liked being at our farm much better than the fair.   He did pretty well placing, but it was frustrating when wouldn’t cooperate.   I remember a judge saying Speckles was a good lamb, but wish it handled better.   I took it to heart, but also realized that some things are out of our control.   I did work with him and I loved him.   He was so out of his element and just seemed a bit jumpy.

It was an interesting year for me.   I continue to learn and grow, but still need much help with choosing a good lamb.   It is really hard to pick when they are little and can’t visualize what they will look like grown up and filled in.   I still like the cuteness part, can’t seem to go wrong there! I will probably do a sheep project next year and hope to continue to learn and get better. I can only hope my experiences this time around will help next year.

My goal when I get older is to do something pertaining to animals.   I would love to be a vet, or in some field that cares for animals.

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