Seen and heard at Ag Expo

August 05, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

Parents at the petting farm at Ag Expo Wednesday may not have been ready to talk to their children about the birds and the bees, but they did have to explain about the pigs and the cows.

There were 10 new animals in the petting farm Wednesday after Jill, the blue-butt sow, gave birth to a litter of nine piglets, and Kay, a Holstein cow, gave birth to a calf.

Jacob and Eli Dove, both of Boonsboro, said they thought the nine nursing pigs were cute.

Autumn Breeden, 13, Allysen Breeden, 11, and Branden, 13, all of Maugansville, came back this year because last year they saw the birth of pigs, including Jill, they said.

Glenda and Tom Drury, who will take Jill and her offspring back to their farm in Cearfoss after Ag Expo ends, said the fast progression from baby to mother is normal.


Drury said the piglets weigh 3 to 5 pounds each now but will weigh 100 pounds, as their mother does, by next year's Ag Expo.

Branden said Tuesday's births make the petting farm valuable to kids.

"It helps you learn a lot," he said.

Breanna Jones, 10, of Hagerstown, and Katie Frey, 13, of Smithsburg, said Gabby, a goat they were milking, was not in pain, even though an observer may have doubted that was true.

Gabby was kicking and moving around while the girls milked her Wednesday morning. She seemed to thrash even harder when Frey said they were about half done.

Breanna and Katie explained that goats are milked by pinching the top of the udder and squeezing down toward the tip.

Don't be scared, they told an observer, noting the process is just like the one used for milking cows.

Cole Kline, 5, might not have been scared, but he was a little surprised when a squirt of milk landed on his "birthday pants."

Meanwhile, Gabby tried to ignore the process by attempting to eat paper that was in front of her.

"Goats will eat just about anything," Katie said.

"Anything they can get their hands on," Breanna added.

Without paper and with two girls tugging on her udders, Gabby was left with no choice but to wait it out.

One participant in the 4-H/FFA Texas Longhorns Show was singled out by judge June Cohron at the end of the show.

That young man was Chris Thomas, 17, a recent graduate of Boonsboro High School.

Thomas was showing Amigo, a 16-month-old Texas longhorn that he raised with the help of Jeff and Sharon Wiles of J.W. Longhorns in Clear Spring.

Although Thomas' longhorn was headed to Friday's 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale, the money raised from the sale isn't headed for Thomas' pocket. It is being donated to Washington County Food Resources.

Thomas and the Wileses decided to raise and sell Amigo and to give all the proceeds to Food Resources to give back to the community, they said.

Jeff Wiles said he and his wife will continue what they and Thomas started, and partner with another young person next year to raise a longhorn to donate proceeds to a different charity.

Thomas, a member of the Livestock Club and 4-H Club during high school, was soft-spoken when asked about his motives for donating his time and money.

He said he was excited to show his first longhorn.

Weighing 1,075 pounds, Amigo wasn't easy to show.

"You have to stay relaxed," Thomas said. "If you're too excited, they'll get excited."

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