Would Your Child Like to Raise a Calf?

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boy with calf

Yes, it is possible for any family in Catawba County and surrounding counties.

Youth Livestock Animal Project Offered – Youth ages 8 and older are invited to participate in the 4-H Dairy Calf Steer Project, which is a youth livestock project in Catawba County. Families, in Catawba and all surrounding counties, who are interested in enrolling in the project should attend the Informational meeting on Monday, December 9, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at the Agricultural Resources Center in Newton. (1175 South Brady Ave., Newton, NC)

At the December 9 meeting, families will learn about what type of space is needed for the project, some basics about caring for the calf, expected costs, show premiums, and a project timeline. 4-H’ers who have previously participated in the project will share their experiences at the meeting. Project registrations will be accepted during December & the first half of January. Families who register to participate should also attend a required training in the third week of January to receive detailed instructions about caring for and feeding their calf and preparing an area to house the calf. Some starter feed and supplies will be provided. A small volunteer group of individuals experienced in raising livestock and a veterinarian will be on call 24 hours a day to assist with advice and knowledge. Plans are participants will receive a dairy steer calf in the last week of January.

The week-old dairy steer calf will be coming from a large dairy farm in Iredell County. Youth will need to care for the calf daily, working with the calf so it is ready to be shown in two local youth livestock shows. These calves are typically 50-75 pounds. They will grow to weigh as much as 600 pounds at showtime.

boys with livestock

The project will conclude with a dairy steer show to be held as part of the Catawba County Fair in late August/early Sept. 2020. The dairy steers will be sold following the fair showing with proceeds going to the participant. Each calf owner will also need to record their experiences in a 4-H Project Book that will be submitted for judging and awards. By participating in the project, the youth will learn about animal science and veterinary care for large animals and record-keeping while developing a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

It is not necessary to be a current 4-H member to participate in this project. All interested families are invited to come and learn about the project. New members are also welcome in the Catawba County 4-H Livestock Club. The club is for youth ages 5 and older. Through the club meetings and activities, club members learn about agriculture production and animal science. They also develop leadership and life skills through 4-H experiences and project animal activities. For more information about the Dairy Steer Project or Livestock Club, contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, or Glenn Detweiler, Livestock Agent, with NC State Extension Service at 828-465-8240.