Thursday, September 19, 2013

4 H Lessons Begin

We began our 4 H group a few weeks ago and have had our feeding times on Tuesday evenings for the small animals (rabbits, chickens and pigeons) kept on site.  Participants in the program take turns caring for the animals at the facility, and on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month the meetings are held that will teach the kids about the animals they will help raise and care for. 

Each child chooses an area they will specialize in so that they can later have an animal to prepare and show in the county fair.  Though the girls won't be showing this year since you need to have been responsible for that animal for 6 months prior to showing, they will spend this year learning about the animals themselves, their care and feeding, then later breeding and their use as food.

On Tuesday after we fed the animals it was time for the first meeting with a lesson included. The group was smaller this time since those who've been with the program for some time were away at the mandatory county fair meeting in preparation for showing their chickens and rabbits.  So those of us at the meeting learned about rabbits.

Mr. Gene, showed how to inspect the cages for issues that could cause health problems and then they began inspecting each of the rabbits for possible ear mites, cuts to their paws and teeth or fur issues.

Hannah checking out the paws for sores

After all the rabbits were checked out and deemed healthy, extra hay was added for the rabbits to get to burrow through and create "caves" to sit in and enjoy as they slowly ate their way through this temporary environment that is apparently a real treat for them. The kids had fun piling it in and watching the rabbits excitedly burrow in.

Squishy happily diving into his pile

Lauren grabbing more hay to add to the cages

Then it was back to the meeting area to begin learning the parts of a rabbit from the paperwork and then reviewing it with "Squishy" the rabbit as the subject.

Next meeting we will begin to learn about chickens, which is the specialty area our girls have chosen in preparation of having our own chickens here at home.

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