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Kids get a full feel for milking

August 06, 2002|by Liz Boch

lizb@herald-mail.com

After watching a dairy steer get clipped for his upcoming stint in the show ring, a group of about 20 children made it clear they were hungry.

The Citicorp Daycare Center took the youngsters to the Ag Expo at around 10:45 a.m. to beat the heat and watch the animals wash off. Many of the youngsters didn't think it was cool enough.

"I wouldn't clip here because he'd spit at me and poop," said Ciera Redfer, 7. "It's cool."

Shannon Raffaniello, 9 and Cierra Shaffer, 9, noticed the cow looked a little heavy.

"Are they going to milk her because it looks like she has a lot of milk?" Raffaniello asked.

Shaffer agreed and said, "My granddaddy raises cows. I help him milk them. Sometimes they mind. It depends on what mood they're in."

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Not all animals like to keep cool from the hot sun by being washed in the morning.

Katie Frey, 11, and Timothy Frey, 10, both ended up pretty wet after their sheep continually shook the soap suds off their wool and onto their handlers.

"It's the first time he's been washed, so this is normal," Katie said as she squirted more dishwashing liquid onto her sheep named Pirate.

"They stand there and shake. They don't like to get wet, so they shake," Timothy said.

Controlled chaos is the only way to describe the 4-H/FFA Market Hog Competition, according to Amy Hamby of Williamsport.

"It's a whole different show than any others you'll watch," she said.

Her son Garrett, 12, won first place for his hog in the 255-pound to 260-pound range.

The handlers poke the hogs with canes to steer them around the ring.

Handler Megan Drury, 18, of Hagers-

town, admitted that she normally follows the pig's lead, not the other way around.

"They're loose and you have to follow," she said. "Every other animal you can harness, but pigs are stubborn. They have to prove who's the boss."

Drury said most hogs don't get along with those from other farms, and although the animals squealed throughout the show, this contest was fairly tame.

"Sometimes they'll fight each other," she said. "They can be very aggressive."

Despite some thunder and lightning Monday afternoon, the traditionally skittish 4-H/FFA rabbits remained calm, said Daveeda Land, 15, of Hagerstown.

Land showed four rabbits Monday afternoon and said although bad weather won't stir her pets up, bad handling can.

"You have to work with them every day," she said, "work them into habits."

Nina Scott, 16, of Hagerstown, agreed that most rabbits are friendly, but said she has had firsthand experience with a Giant Chinchilla rabbit that was not.

"You'd open the cage and he'd jump out after you," Scott said. "You'd clean the feeder and he'd chew on your hand."

Both said a combination of ample play time and training with treats calms the animals.

"They have their own personalities," Land said. "One wouldn't eat if I walked away. I had another one who'd bite me if I wouldn't play with him."

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