5 Ways Summer Is Different for Livestock Kids

There’s something about summertime. School is out. The sun is shining, and anything cool sounds good (please pass the ice cream). Many families go on vacation or spend days at the pool. Children attend camps and make special memories with friends all summer long. Summer is a special time, but it does not look the same for everyone. Here’s 5 ways summer is different for kids with livestock.

1.Family vacations are to livestock shows.

With some big livestock shows taking place in the middle of summer, families involved in the livestock show world, pack up, and make the trip to various shows across the country. Don’t feel bad for these kids, though. Going to a stock show is just as much fun as a trip to the beach. Shows mean fellow livestock kids, friendly competition, and lots of fun. Many shows hold events like concerts, ice cream socials, games, and crafts. It is truly a special time.

Shaved ice after the state livestock judging and skillathon contests

2. Summer camps center around visiting other farms and attending clinics

Livestock kids still go to summer camps like other kids, but they look a bit different. Summer camps for livestock kids may often center around visiting another farm or attending a clinic to learn more about showing animals, livestock judging, or skillathon. Picture a group of youth piling into a 15-passenger van, arriving at a farm, donning plastic booties (for bio-security reasons), gathering around a pen of four animals, notebook in hand to practice for judging. In North Carolina, the weather is H.O.T., but youth keep cool with shade, some ice cream, and lots of water (not all for drinking… did someone say water fight?)

Notice those blue plastic booties. FYI, they are hot!

3. Forget the lazy days of summer

The lazy days of summer aren’t on a livestock kid’s schedule. You can forget sleeping in. There are animals to feed, wash, and walk. There are chores around the barn, and…are the cows out again? Life on a farm with livestock is never dull, and lazy is not a thing. Somehow, supper time is pushed back to 8 or 9 at night because that’s when the sun goes down, and the list of things to do are never-ending on the farm. Livestock kids aren’t complaining, though. They don’t hate their summers; they just look a bit different.

4. Cooling off doesn’t always involve a pool

Remember item three where the lazy days of summer aren’t a thing? Well, that doesn’t mean livestock kids don’t know how to have fun. Livestock require a lot of washing to keep them both cool and to keep their coats in optimum health. Don’t be surprised when the kids come out of the wash racks as wet as their animal. Puddles from a summer shower can also be a great way to cool off. You may also find one of those shallow doggy pools become a pig pool. Hey, we all love a good swim!

5. Flip-flops aren’t a part of their summer wardrobe

You probably won’t find a livestock kid in flip-flops–at least not around their animals. They will often be in shorts and boots or some other closed-toe shoes because, well, hooves. It may not be the most fashionable, but that’s not the point.

Summertime looks different for livestock kids, but that isn’t a bad thing. Summertime is just as enjoyable, just as many memories are made, and it is just as hot for you as it is for livestock kids. There’s just a bit more manure, boots, and animals for our kids with.

Beating the heat and treating his show pig to a Popsicle

About Marisa Linton See

Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock in NC. She has shown animals at the N.C. State Fair for 15 years and is a past youth livestock scholarship recipient. She is an N.C. State University graduate, agricultural photographer and blogger.

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