Spring is a busy time for the Moffat County 4-H program.
On May 6 and 7, for example, the weigh-in for 4-H lamb, goat, and swine projects took place at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
Alisa Comstock, Moffat County 4-H Youth Development Agent, said that the county Fair Board requires weigh-in and tagging with county tags in order for members to be allowed to show their livestock at the Moffat County Fair.
Besides that, by getting a beginning weight (before animals are put on a feed program), members can participate in the rate of gain contest.
Members also are thinking ahead to animals they might show at the Colorado State Fair, so at the weigh-in, these "nominated" animals were identified in special ways.
Lambs were "nose printed."
Comstock explained that the nose print is like a fingerprint - it's specific for each animal.
By recording the ear notch pattern, also specific to each animal, swine animals were identified.
And in case of the goats, a picture of each goat with the 4-H member was taken.
Jackie Goodnow, Moffat County Extension Office Manager, reported that, in all, 55 lambs, 44 goats and 117 pigs were weighed in and tagged.
She said the numbers are up slightly from last year. Beef animals were weighed in and tagged earlier this year.
In other 4-H news, May 11 marked Leader Celebration.
The leaders enjoyed nacho and taco bars. They received leader materials and played games, which incorporated ideas to use in their project work.
Moffat County currently has 42 4-H leaders.
The 4-H program is encouraged to reach out to the schools, and this spring's "hatching eggs" program is an example of one of the school programs.
Comstock said that the 4-H program purchased incubators, posters, teacher materials and fertilized eggs.
Three schools participated.
One incubator was placed in the library at Sunset Elementary School, under the watchful eye of librarian Linda Knoche.
Students have been watching the eggs as they come and go.
Another incubator can be found at Eagle's Wings Christian School, where Betty Ann Duzik and Carol Whitehead teach children about hatching eggs. And still another incubator was placed in Jennifer Stagner's room at Ridgeview Elementary.
Comstock will be delivering brooders to the schools this week because the eggs should start hatching.
Members enrolled in 4-H livestock projects are required by the state to take the Meat Assurance Class twice in their 4-H "careers," and the class will take place 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Extension Office.
"Variety" is the word to use when describing the 4-H program.
For example, on May 26, East Elementary School third-grade students will visit the Extension Office for a special communication activity.
Students will receive bags of odds and ends to be used in building a bridge.
Building materials will include such items as popsicle sticks, paper, Styrofoam sheets, pipe cleaners and more.
The bridges will be made strong enough to hold up a stuffed 4-H bear.
On June 1, horse levels testing will be hosted at the Fairgrounds. Members in 4-H horse projects must pass a Level One test to participate in the county fair. Testing includes basic handling, grooming, saddling and control of the horse while riding.
This year, choosing Moffat County Fair queens and royalty for 2010 will take place earlier than usual. Applications are due June 4 to the Extension Office, and queens will be announced before the Junior Livestock Sale during the fair.
This is a new rotation, allowing the 2010 queens and royalty to participate in seminars to be hosted in September 2009.
On June 10, 4-H Council members will have a record-book workshop and stage a parliamentary procedure demonstration.
All 4-H members are invited.
Comstock will help out with the Moffat County Library's Summer Reading Program on June 11.
Christy Gonzales, Children's Librarian, said Comstock will visit during story time, which will take place at 11 a.m. the covered picnic area at the fairgrounds.
Comstock will read a story to the children and talk about horses. She will have her horse there, too.
Gonzales also reported that the 4-H communication activity (mentioned for May 26 in this story) also will be part of the summer reading program.
The 4-H program will be repeated as part of the Express Yourself Youth Club, for ages 8 and older, during the Summer Reading Program on July 8.
June 15 to 18 is the Livestock, Horse and Dog Expo in Eagle County, and June 23 to 26 has been set for the State 4-H Conference in Fort Collins.
And in June, 4-H high school student Nick Cammer will attend the Citizenship Washington Focus trip.
It's a busy spring for 4-H, indeed.