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Henry 4-H recognized for calf program

Special Photo
Rand Rose, of McDonough, and his steer, Junior, won first place in last month's Henry County Cattlemen's Calf Show. Rose is one of several members of the 4-H Hindquarters Club, who were recognized at a Cattlemen's Association meeting this week.

Special Photo Rand Rose, of McDonough, and his steer, Junior, won first place in last month's Henry County Cattlemen's Calf Show. Rose is one of several members of the 4-H Hindquarters Club, who were recognized at a Cattlemen's Association meeting this week.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Several area children were honored recently, for the skills they have attained in caring for farm animals.

Members of the Henry County 4-H Hindquarters Club received recognition during a meeting of the county's Cattlemen's Association, at Heritage Park in McDonough on Thursday.

Katie Gilbert, a 4-H program assistant for the University of Georgia Extension Office in McDonough, has worked closely with the club's seven members over the past year. She said the kids in the club developed skills which are essential to the proper care of young heifers and steers.

"Every year they purchase calves, learn how to raise them and learn about the cattle industry as a whole," said Gilbert. "Some of them will breed their heifers and, the next year, show the calves that came from those heifers."

The 4-H program has been active in producing a calf show in Henry County for more than 30 years, said Gilbert.

"It's a good thing for the community," she said. "It teaches the children responsibility, and it's a family project."

Children who took part in the club this year, according to Gilbert, range from 9 to 18 years old, and participated in a calf show at the Henry County Fair last month. Four of the children's calves were sold at the fair, Gilbert said, and the buyers -- JT Environmental Services and D. Wilder Farms -- were honored at the Cattlemen's Association meeting.

Each child who placed in the event received money Thursday from the Cattlemen's Association, she said, which will go toward the continued care of the animals.

The first-place award in the calf show went to 10-year-old Rand Rose, and his steer, Junior. Rose is the grandson of Cattlemen's Association President Marvin Rose.

The boy's father, Jack Rose, said his family typically purchases calves in the spring, in preparation for entering them into shows across the state.

"As soon as you get them, you have to break them to lead, because they're kind of wild," said Jack Rose. "Then you have to break them to a show stick, to position them for the way the judge [at a given show] wants them to stand. What everybody aims for, is to have their calves compete at the state level."

According to Jack Rose, tending to the calves involves, among other tasks, maintaining the animals' hair, and ensuring the calves are fed properly.

"They start out eating about 12 pounds of food per day -- six in the morning and six in the afternoon," Jack Rose said. "When they get to weigh about 1,000 pounds, they eat about 26 pounds of food a day."

Jack Rose said Junior was about 400 pounds when Rand began taking care of him, and now weighs 825 to 850 pounds.

He said raising cattle is a tradition he was eager to pass on to Rand and his 15-year-old brother, Ryan.

"We're a farming and cattle family," Jack Rose said. "I showed calves when I was a kid. It teaches [the kids] a work ethic, self-discipline and commitment."