This year, I had the joy of hosting a livestock skill-a-thon for the first time in Owen Co. and co-hosting one for the second time in Clay Co. with Tammy Steiner, our 4-H Youth Development Educator. The winner of the livestock skill-a-thon is not based on how an animal looks, but on the youth’s knowledge of the livestock industry as a whole. As I prepared for these two events, I have increased my knowledge of the livestock industry. So here are a few tidbits of information I gained thanks to working on the livestock skill-a-thons this year.
Not all chicken combs are the same. The comb is the fleshly, red outgrowth on the top of the chicken’s head. It helps cool the bird during hot weather and is an indicator of egg production. A large, red comb typically indicates a hen that is laying. If the comb is small and pink, the hen is not laying. Some common comb types include single, rose, pea, cushion, buttercup, strawberry, and v-shaped comb.
There are four fur types for rabbits. They are rex, satin, wool, and normal. Rex fur is soft and velvety, yet dense and is useful for apparel. Satin fur is similar in texture to normal fur, but has a softer more shiny appearance. The sheen comes from select breeding to encourage a glossy coat. Rabbits with wool fur have a dense wooly coat similar to a sheep, however it is not as waxy feeling. Normal fur is soft in texture and short.
The movement of a horse is called it’s gait. There are three types of natural gaits. They are walk, trot, and canter. The walk is a four-beat gait with the feet striking the ground in the following order: right front, left rear, left front, right rear. The trot is a two-beat gait in which the left front and right rear feet and the right front and left rear feet strike the ground together. The trot should be balanced and springy. The canter is a three-beat gait that should be slow. The canter is actually a restrained gallop.
The part of the animal that meat comes from is called the primal or wholesale cut. By knowing what primal area the meat comes from, you can have some idea as to how tender the meat will be. If the meat comes from the shoulder and rump, it is constantly moving and more likely to be tougher. The smaller cut that we actually purchase is referred to the retail cut. A few examples of retail cuts we get from hogs include the tenderloin, blade steak, spare ribs, and ham. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you are done cooking it, you should allow it to rest for three-minutes.
Here were a few examples of the different things involved with the livestock skill-a-thon. Next week, I’ll provide you with some examples related to beef cattle, dairy cattle, goats, and sheep. As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay Co. or 829-5020 in Owen Co. or reach me directly at email@example.com. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
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August 2-18 – Indiana State Fair