COLUMBIA — The rain Tuesday morning couldn’t dampen the spirits of 4-Hers preparing for the market lamb show at the Boone County Fair.
The 4-Hers were shearing, washing and leading their lambs while the rain was coming down. Luckily, the sun came out in time for them to show at 6 p.m.
Market lambs are lambs that can be sold in the auction on Friday for their meat. Each 4-Her has the option of selling one lamb in the auction, said Jo Britt-Rankin, co-superintendent for lambs for Boone County 4-H. The 4-Hers can sell a total of two animals in the auction, but they can only sell one of a species, she continued. There will be about 30 white-faced, black-faced and speckled-faced market lambs sold on Friday.
To be sold, the lambs must weight at least 100 pounds because that is the optimum weight for harvesting, Britt-Rankin said. But that isn’t too hard to accomplish. The average weight of the lambs at the show is 125 pounds, she said.
Logan Fitch, 14, is planning on selling one of his lambs at the auction. He has been exercising his lamb, feeding it the right amount of food and working with it an hour a night to prepare for the show and auction, he said.
Lambs are a good project for 4-Hers because they’re relatively easy to handle, Britt-Rankin said. Fitch agreed. He said it’s one of the funnest and easiest projects. The downside to market lambs is that it sometimes gets hard for the 4-Hers to sell their lambs after they put in all the time preparing them.
“Some kids, especially younger ones, get really attached to their lambs because they work with them an hour a day,” Britt-Rankin said.
The lambs are usually purchased after they’re weaned around March, but some 4-Hers raise them from birth, Britt-Rankin said. All the lambs shown are less than a year old and were born after Jan. 1, she continued. That means it takes a lot of attention to get these lambs ready to be shown.
Justin Chrisman, 11, gives his lamb baths because it calms the lamb and makes it more tame. After working to get his lamb ready, he proudly said that he’s really excited because his lamb is the heaviest out of his group, at 115 pounds.