What to Expect When You're Expecting...Show Stock

| 4/8/2020 11:40:00 AM

Katie MurrayWhat’s that you say? Your kids (or grandkids) came home saying they want to show an animal. Some well-meaning county extension agent, agriculture teacher, or family friend who clearly despises you told your child showing livestock would be fun. Now, it’s your job to figure out just how “fun” this new undertaking is going to be.

Youth across the nation show a variety of animals, from horses to chickens.  If it can walk or hop, chances are it can be shown. So what does a stock show project for the child living in your home entail? Here is a taste of what to expect when you’re expecting a show animal:

Dairy Show

Housing. First things first: you’ve got to have a place to house Bugs Bunny or Porky the Pig or Bessie the Cow or Lamb Chop or Clucky the Chicken (or whatever clever moniker you have chosen for your animal) when said animal first shows up at your home. While the size of the pen will vary from animal to animal, a few things will remain the same. The pen must keep the animal in a safe environment from which they can not escape from or be attacked by prey. The pen also must be kept clean and dry. Often this will entail shavings of some sort and regular cleaning. It should also be a place in which the animal can be fed and watered.

Feed Costs. The next basic need for housing an animal on your premises is the need to keep them fed. As my father always explained to us as children, “you like to eat regularly each day and so do your animals.” Feeding twice per day - once in the morning, once in the evening - is standard protocol for most animals. With that feed, comes feed costs. This is where a real price difference per animal comes into play. While a chicken may eat as little as one-fourth a pound of feed per day, a show steer can easily eat 10-15 lbs of feed per day. Just like fuel for your car, fuel for your animal can get pricey. Make sure you’ve discussed in detail with your county agent or agriculture teacher just what types of feed costs you can expect to encounter with your show project.

Show Fees. Now comes the fun part; the show! Depending on your species and geographic location, the animal may be shown 10-15 times over a 12-month period or simply once over a span of 90 days. Regardless of the number of shows the animal is entered in, there will be fees associated with each show. Fees are usually based on the number of animals entered, not the number of exhibitors, so can add up if you’re entering more than one animal per show. A standard fee would be in the range of $25 per animal per show.

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