South Huron 4-H Sheep Club Report
The South Huron sheep club met for the fourth time on the evening of July 22 at the Hallahan family farm outside of Blyth. Members took an unofficial tour of the farm and helped with feeding calves before joining in the Hallahan’s robot barn, where they recited the 4-H pledge before tucking into a pizza supper provided by the club.
As members finished up their meal, Steve Hallahan redirected their attention to a group of two-year-old milking heifers that he had previously sorted out of the pen. He pointed out what to look for when judging dairy animals, including strong feet and legs on the animal and a large supply of blood flow to an evenly proportioned udder.
Steve pointed out that, for a cow to produce a single litre of milk, 40 litres of blood need to flow through the cow’s mammary system. The members of the club then took the 4-H motto of “Learn to do by doing” and began to judge the pen of four on their own, writing their placings onto small cards before telling their reasons to the judge. Then, Liz Gras, former 4-Her, gave her official placing and reasoning for the class. Steve then released the cows and the club filed into their robot room where they watched a cow get milked.
As members watched with mesmerized expressions regarding the marvels of modern technology, Steve answered some questions regarding the farm. With his milking robot, the farm averages 2.8 milking per day, and since they had built the barn in the spring of 2017 they have had over 60, 000 milking on their single robot. After the cow had been released back into the pen, the members regrouped in the barn office where we watched the milk truck dash-cam footage of their shed fire that had happened on June 29. We discussed farm and fire safety as we headed towards the manger and began the formalities of the meeting.
President Grace Hallahan had led the roll call, “What are you doing with your sheep for summer fun?” many kids had talked about how they took their sheep on walks to get them used to walking in a show ring. We then discussed the Go for the Gold competition and formulated the teams that will be participating, before going over information that we will have to know for the trivia game night. The hosts were then thanked, and the meeting was ended with the 4-H motto and wishes of safe summer travels. The date and time for our fifth meeting is yet to be decided.