Fair Update – Swine Show

My dad has a nifty little portable hog scale, and the weekend before the fair he volunteered to bring it over to weigh Madeline’s fair pigs. This was a big help, because when you get to the fair with your pigs you have to unload them in a specific order. Derby pigs have to go over the scale first, followed by market pig entries. So it helped her decide which ones to enter into which classes. It also gave us an idea which of the 3 were closest in weight to help pick which ones to use in the “Pen of 3″ entry where you want your pigs to be very even and uniform.

Madeline had just made them a mud puddle about an hour before Dad came over, which made the whole thing a messy endeavor.

Once at the fair the pigs get a daily bath up until the day of the show. Madeline recruited her friends Emily and Jadee to help. Having livestock at the fair is one of the most fun things. Lots of waterfights occur at the hog and beef washing stations. Jadee plus their friend Anna also helped all day at the swine show, with cleaning and brushing and oiling. And Anna helped her show her Pen of 3.


Madeline showing her derby barrow

A couple of days before the swine show Madeline said to me, “I don’t care if I get a red ribbon or even a white. I want to show pigs again next year just because I’ve had so much fun with them.” That made me so happy to hear. I’m always reminding her that 4-H is not about the ribbons, it’s about the experience and learning things.

We aren’t able to winter farrow and therefore don’t have piglets available at the right time for a 4-H swine project. So we purchased these pigs from my brother. They’re a nice crossbred commercial pig. Because we don’t pay big bucks for show pigs, and because we continue to follow a natural feed ration, we had prepared Madeline for the likelihood of receiving red ribbons on her pigs. And as more than one other “swine project dad” told Matt, “Just remember, there’s two competitions going on in the ring – the show pigs and the regular pigs.”

So imagine her delight when she was “side-penned” with her very first pig in the ring :) The show ring is lined on one side by 10 pens, indicating places 1 through 10. The judge looks over the group of pigs being shown, sends some over to the sidepens, releases the rest from the ring, and then takes another look at the pigs in the sidepens to determine final placement. She ended up with 7th and a blue ribbon for her derby barrow, a blue ribbon for her derby gilt, 9th and a blue ribbon for her market gilt, and a blue ribbon for her pen of 3.

For next year she’s interested in ways to increase Lean Gain naturally. So if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments!

Final stats on her derby barrow:
Beg Wt: 58
End Wt: 267
ADG: 1.9
BF: 1.02
LEA: 8.94
Fat Free Lean.lb: 109.61
Fat Free Lean %: 55.47
Lean Gain: .87

Stats on the winning derby barrow:
Beg Wt: 56
End Wt: 342
ADG: 2.6
BF: .98
LEA: 10.81
Fat Free Lean.lb: 142.25
Fat Free Lean %: 56.21
Lean Gain: 1.11

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8 Responses to Fair Update – Swine Show

  1. farm mom says:

    Wow! Looks like Madeline made out like a bandit at the fair this year. Good for her! I’m hoping to get my children involved in 4H also when they’re a little older. It seems like a very educational and character building pursuit. Congratulations Madeline!! :)

  2. Woody says:

    Great job… This was my daughters first year with 4H. She showed a market barrow in our pee wee class. I thought she did a great job in showmanship. All the pee wees get trophies, which I think is really cool. The most amazing thing to me is that( our fair is still running) I cannot get her to come out of the pen. She has kept her pen and the area around spotless and been around all day to tell passers by about her hog. I haven’t had to tell her to feed or water “Rocket” or much of anything else concerning her project. She hasn’t even wanted to hit the rides yet. She has asked so many questions of other 4Hers about how she could do things better. I am just awestruck! Katy is 8 and a very, very active kid. Dad is simply amazed at her behavior. Just a little proud too…does it show?

  3. BettyWestern says:

    Congrats to Madeline on all her efforts!! I’m visiting a rare breeds show tomorrow here in the UK where friends of mine are showing some Berkshire pigs; will have photos to share on tomorrow’s update, do drop by. Perhaps Medeline can wish us luck!

  4. BettyWestern says:

    Sorry, make that Madeline (I hate it when people spell my name wrong!)

  5. Stacie says:

    spent my week at the whiteside county 4-h show… reporting for the paper. looks like a close match!

  6. karl says:

    completely off topic but i was looking at the local harvest site and stumbled across sugar creek farm although is didn’t seem like you guys.

  7. karl says:

    we were thinking of joining the local harvest and was trying to get some advice.

  8. Janine says:

    Awesome Job for Madeline! I am excited for my daughter Rachel because she is showing her first pig this year at the fair. She is a six month old gilt and not a special showing pig, just a normal cross breed. Nice blog!Janine