My husband, Dave, is a farmer. He and my dad feed beef cattle, to the tune of about 850 steers and heifers, and they also keep track of a 75 cow/calf herd.
Our sons are in 4-H and their main project is showing beef steers and beef breeding stock at the county 4-H and open shows. The fair isn't until mid-August, but it takes a lot of work and preparation to get the animals (that are about 15 times as big as the boys) ready to be walked around like a dog-- a very CALM dog at that.
During the spring, the boys and I try to work with the 4-H calves as often as we can on Saturday afternoons. We tie them up, we walk them around, we brush their fur, mostly just "hang out" with the calves so that they get used to us being around them.
Once summer vacation gets here, we'll work with them everyday. During the summer, the calves get tied for a while everyday, walked around everyday, and a quick washing every couple of days, with a "deep cleaning" once a week or so. We also make more of an effort to keep them well bedded in the summer to keep them cool and clean, so their coats look as nice as we can make them. My boys know their way around a straw bale and pitchfork!
This was a picture from last year's fair, our younger son showed this hereford yearling heifer. She's due to have her calf ANY DAY NOW!!! The suspense is killing us! Will it be marked like a true hereford? Will it be a heifer or bull calf? She and her calf will be going back to the fair again this year. She won grand champion in the 4-H show last year, hopefully she'll have the same luck this year!
I love spending part of my Saturday working with the boys and their calves, the boys are growing into such good cattlemen and the calves we have picked out this year are very sweet and easy to work with. It's a smelly, messy job, but I'm blessed to be able to do it!
Leave me a post if you are 4-H alumni!