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Reservation 4-H Explores the World of Small Animals


4-Hers learn the parts of a rabbit. — submitted photo

June 2013 –Youth on the Colville Reservation had the opportunity to learn about small animals through their participation in the 4-H Small Animal Clinic, held in Keller on June 22. This was a hands-on clinic, whereby reservation youth were able to get ‘up close and personal’ with chickens, rabbits, goats and cats.

4-H Leaders and teen leaders demonstrated how to select, care for, feed and show small animal projects. Youth also received information on how to create educational posters and were able to participate in skill-a-thon activities, designed to enhance their skills and knowledge of small animal projects.

The day began with a demonstration by Kelly Burbank, 4-H leader and Morgan Allen, 4-H teen leader, on the “Differences between Meat Goats and Dairy Goats.” The Meat Goat/Market Goat project is new, this year, to the Ferry County Fair. This is the first time that 4-H youth will have the opportunity to raise and sell a meat goat through the 4-H Livestock market sale.

Next on the agenda was 4-H member Gary Nee, along with 4-H leader Brenda Nee. They provided information on how to show a Flemish Giant rabbit. This is Gary’s third year showing rabbits. He used this opportunity to build his public speaking skills while teaching others about his rabbit project. Shelby Evans, 4-H member, assisted by Robin Ferguson, 4-H leader, also demonstrated how to fit and show a rabbit. Shelby shows a Lion Head rabbit, so there were a variety of rabbit breeds for youth to observe and learn about.

The highlight of the day was when Robin Ferguson, Inchelium Haypitchers 4-H club, spoke about how to fit and show chickens/poultry. All 4-H youth entered in animal projects at fair are required to participate in fitting and showmanship class. Robin actually bathed a chicken to show the youth how they would need to prepare their poultry for the show ring.

4-H member demonstrates how to position a rabbit for judging.

“4-H is all about the ‘learn by doing’ philosophy,” stated Linda McLean, Extension educator for the WSU Colville Reservation Extension program. “It is great to see the older, more experienced 4-H youth demonstrating and teaching the younger 4-H youth.” McLean organized skill-a-thon stations that included hands-on experiences: candling eggs, tattooing a rabbit ear, showmanship poses for rabbits, and parts of a rabbit. The clinic participants were able to visit each educational station and practice performing the activity. McLean also offered information on “How to Make Posters That Pop.” All 4-Hers, with animal exhibits at Ferry County Fair, are required to exhibit an educational poster about their project.

If you would like more information on 4-H or how you can start a 4-H club in your area, please contact Linda McLean, Colville Reservation-Ferry County Extension Educator, (509) 634-2305 or . Or you may contact Dan Fagerlie, Project Director, (509) 690-0009 / (509) 775-3087 or or Debra Hansen, Interim Ferry County Director, (509) 775-5225 ext. 1116 or the Okanogan County Extension office (509) 422-7245.

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