Ag Experience Insider: Kids Growing the Farm

Many farm kids dream of having their own livestock someday. At the Rollinger Ranch, new species of animals have been introduced due to the hard work and ambition of the Rollinger kids. Continue reading to learn more about these new animals and the hard work and ambition of the Rollinger kids. 

Role as a Farm Kid

The summer allows us to slow down and focus a bit more. Ross does morning chores (for the most part) during the school year so the kids can get good sleep. But in the summer, they are responsible for the animals when they wake up. Kya has a cow she’s getting ready to show for 4H, so she takes care of her and Willow, the pig. She also makes sure the big chickens have water and food. Ivy feeds the dogs and gets the lambs water. Benson searches for the eggs, feeds the lambs, and takes care of the baby chicks.

The Pig Process

We’ve never had a pig before. Our friend’s son, Ryder, who also does our chores for us when we are gone, has one. Their whole family was enjoying it, so Kya worked pretty hard to convince her dad that we should get one, too. Ross was a pretty hard no for all the valid reasons; more work, they smell, nowhere to put it, he’ll end up doing the work, etc. But Kya didn’t let that stop her. She was pretty motivated to get a pig. She quickly found a spot where she could build a fenced-in area and Ross agreed. She then told him that she’d put up the fence herself. He was skeptical but gave her a chance.
The next issue – who pays for the fencing? Ross was pretty impressed with her motivation so he agreed to help with the cost (knowing full well it would get used again). The supplies were purchased, and as you can see in the picture, Kya worked hard and put up the fence. She had helped Ross with fence enough to know what she was doing. She worked on it for a couple of hours a few nights in a row and made it happen. She used the calf hut for the pig’s shelter, and we bought a pretty cool PVC pipe waterer.
We didn’t know a lot about pigs, so we had to do a little research and ask a few questions. All in all, they’re pretty easy to care for and super funny animals. Willow, the pig, has a similar demeanor to a dog. She’s curious, playful, and likes people. She has a fun personality. The thought of eating her someday seems a little wrong. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get to it.

Growing the Farm

I blame Ryder for all our “new” animals. The Rollinger Ranch used to only have cows, chickens, and our two dogs. Then Benson (our youngest and only boy) was at Ryder’s house and spent time with his sheep. After his birthday last summer, he spent all of his “earnings” on two sheep of his very own. He raised them last summer and made no money on them in the end, but certainly enjoyed the process.
This summer, all three kids bought two sheep each, so six little lambs need time and attention. The nice part about that is, because it’s summer, the kids can give them what they need.