Ag Experience Insider: Back on the Show Grind

With 4th of July celebrations coming to an end, it is time for the Wirt family to pick up where they left off on their livestock show journey. Work on their show pigs, sheep, and goats continues with exciting times ahead. Continue reading to learn what shows the Wirt family has coming up and how they prepare their show livestock for these shows.

It’s Show Time

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Our family helped host the Turner County Throwdown on June 29th and then spent a few days camping with friends. The show was a great success and we had youth from South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa attend to show their animals! We have some livestock shows to compete at over the next couple of weeks, but we are mostly focusing on three big shows that round out our summer. At the end of July is the South Dakota Summer Spotlight, mid-August is the Turner County Fair, which is our county 4-H show, and then at the beginning of September will be the South Dakota State Fair.

All of our show animals get a lot of attention during the summer, especially the few weeks before a show. These are some things we do on a daily or every other day with our pigs, lambs, and goats during the summer (in addition to getting fed twice a day).

The Pigs Routine

Pigs get walked every other day or more often if needed. We walk them for about 15 to 20 minutes around the grass in our yard. This is for exercise but also gives us time to work on showing them like we will in the show ring. Every day the pigs get conditioning spray brushed over their bodies to help keep their skin and hair looking its best. They get washed every few days or more if needed. We also weigh them at least once a week to monitor their growth and adjust
their diet as needed.

The Sheep and Goats Routine

Lambs and goats need a little bit more exercise and this year we were lucky enough to get a motorized walker where we can walk five lambs at a time. This is great exercise for them but also helps build their muscle so they look their best. Many of our friends live on gravel roads and can take their lambs on ¼ to ½ mile long walks. Unfortunately, we live on a busy highway with a short driveway, so the walker has been really helpful.

The lambs and goats have a skin and haircare routine as well. Their bodies are sheared for shows but the short wool makes them susceptible to fly bites or dry skin. Any of the lambs or goats that have been recently sheared wear blankets to protect them from flies and they get conditioning spray to keep their skin hydrated. The lambs and goats have longer hair on their lower legs and that also gets regularly washed, dried and conditioned. Finally, the lambs and goats also get weighed often to monitor their growth so their feed can be adjusted if needed.

Busy and Exciting Times Ahead

As you can see, we give our animals a lot of love and attention during the summer. Not only are they getting attention, fed, and exercised, but they have their own regular spa day routine!

While we are getting ready for a busy two months of livestock shows, we are also preparing for next year’s lambs. We will be artificially inseminating some of our ewes over the next month to get them ready to lamb this winter. This process takes a lot of careful and well timed
preparation, but we are hoping for good results!