Shepherd’s Showpig Project

We weighed and tagged two barrows, (castrated males), for the Lafayette County Fair.  I like Lafayette County’s protocol.  Barrows are identified in early April.  It’s about a 110 day project until the fair.  Records need to be kept, and the pig’s feed and overall cost is posted at the fair.  Pigs need to weigh a minimum of 220 lbs to sell in the auction, so a child who doesn’t take care of his/her pig will feel a loss when it’s not allowed to sell.  Almost all of the pigs make weight, so it’s not exceedingly difficult.

It can be a great project with a financial reward at the end.  Parents can still do all the work of course, but it’s not as bad as when I first started showing.  A Dad bragged about how he purchased what would become the Grand Champion barrow two days before the fair, and his daughter didn’t see the pig until she walked into the showring.

We make Shepherd do his own work, just like we make both boys do their chores twice a day.  It would be easier to do the chores myself, so I understand why busy parents may be tempted to do that.  However, I think it would be better to skip a project than to do the work for the child.

Shepherd is keeping feed records, and we have a beginning weight and we will have an ending weight, so I’m interested to see the feed efficiency.  The pigs weighed 86 and 68 lbs, so to weigh 220 lbs at the fair will require an average daily gain of about a pound and a half per day.  I’ll let you know how everything turns out.

6 Responses to Shepherd’s Showpig Project

  1. Lisa says:

    That pig with the stripe around its middle is particularly adorable, though I suspect that is not your criteria when choosing a pig.

  2. curiousfarmer says:

    Hampshire is the predominant breed of the striped pig. I wouldn’t use the word adorable, but I have always been partial to that color pattern. Shepherd picked it first.

  3. chainey says:

    I thought that pig maybe was gay, and was wearing a pink sweater – short to show off his “sixpack” while he’s still slim (for a pig).

  4. I can totally beat that. My average daily weight gain is much greater.

  5. curiousfarmer says:

    Chainey, Quantum, good to hear from you!

  6. sophie says:

    What a great project to be doing with your boys!

    Our kids showed sheep in the county fair when they were young, along with other 4-H projects such as cooking, woodwork, electricity, and such. All had wonderful benefits.

    About the sale: Such a great experience for kids. We let our kids use their money to shop for school clothes (after they paid their livestock expenses). They got to buy whatever clothes they wanted, within reason, of course.

    It was interesting how they learned to budget their money. One year, one kid spent all his money on the latest, greatest tennis shoes and had none left for anything else. Another kid miserly bought clothes off the sale rack and put the rest in savings. And the other two kids thoughtfully budgeted their money to buy as many pieces of clothing as they could get.

    They’re adults now and once in a while they still talk about shopping with their sheep money.

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