I’m going to write about what my 4-H speech was about when I did my 2nd 4-H speech. My first one was in 2015, and my 2nd one was in 2016. At first when I did my speech I was a bit nervous to speak in front of a lot of people, but I think I was even more nervous the 2nd time than I was the 1st. There are different categories for different grades like the 4th grade only had to have a speech 1-2 minutes long, 5th grade 2-3 minutes long, 6th grade is 3-4 minutes long, 7th & 8th 4-5 minutes long, and if you are in high school like me you have to do 5-7 minutes long. My speech was about 6 minutes. 4th & 5th grade speeches don’t have to have a certain topic so they can write about anything they want to, but for 6th-12th graders, the topic has to be on 4-H. It doesn’t mean you have to write about 4-H, just about what 4-H can do like sewing, cooking, animals, etc. My speech this year was about goats. Here it is:
My name is Alesha Dodd. I’m 14 years old and in 9th grade, and I’m going to talk about goats. How to care for, train and show your goats in a 4-H fair competition. I don’t quite have goats yet! But I would like to get some in the future to raise and train for a 4-H fair competition so I did a little research.
How to feed and care for your goat’s food. Goats don’t really get their nutrition from their food, but rather from the fermentation of their food. Goats have 4 stomachs and they are designed to ferment and break down their food. Then their bodies digest the nutrition from their fermented food. A goat’s healthy diet consists of pasture, hay, grains and minerals. But a goat’s favorite thing to do is graze and forage for their food, it keeps them active while they eat. It’s best to keep your goat’s food off the ground to prevent mold or insects from eating or infesting your animal’s food. If your goat’s food is kept or left on the ground it could cause diseases, and make your goat deathly sick! Your goats should have full and permanent access to water resources, to prevent your goat from becoming dehydrated.
Vitamins to keep your goat healthy. Goats need more copper then most animals. They should have minerals specifically formulated for goats, available to them at all times. You can buy a block that contains the minerals or you can buy them in loose powdery form which make it easier to get all the vitamins. But if your goat is pregnant you should supply her with a salt lick that contains selenium. Selenium salt licks are very important for pregnant goats as it will help the kids in utero to have proper heart and muscular development.
Keeping up with your goat’s health and appearance. If you are planning to show your goat at a 4-H fair competition it is very important to bathe and groom your goat monthly. So if any infections or fur diseases appear on your goat, you will be able to keep them under control. You should also trim your goat’s hooves at least once a month especially if your goat’s hooves bend, crack, or get infected. You should call a professional or ask someone that will be able to help you treat them properly. If you are planning to show your goats at a 4-H fair competition you should have your goat’s hooves fixed immediately so the infections don’t become worse. Your goat’s hooves will have to be perfect for the competition.
Keeping your goat fit. Your goats will need to stay fit and healthy for the competition, so your goat will need to exercise on a regular basis. It will only take a couple of bricks stacked high enough to where your goat will not be able to walk over them. You can have her jump over them a couple of times or you could build her a little course to run and jump on. If you have a treadmill available to her that would work greatly too.
Training your goat for a 4-H competition. You will need to buy a small halter and chain to train your goat with, and you will want to start training her as soon as possible if you are planning on show her at the competition. Your goat will need to be trained to lead with a halter. She will have to learn how to walk with you, not against or pulling you; and she will need to learn how to walk, not to be dragged. She will also have to learn how to walk when you walk, and stop when you stop. She will need to turn easily when you turn and to stand properly in a square for judging. It will be important to work on training your goat the same thing until she learns it by heart, and you will want to keep training sessions short about 20-25 minutes long daily.
Show preparations. Your goat will need up-to-date vaccines and deworming. You should get your goat’s hooves trimmed about 3 to 4 week before the competition. That way if there were any mess-ups or problems they will have time to grow out. But you will need to make sure her feet stay nice for the show, so you will need to wash and clean her feet weekly after the trim, so they won’t need to be trimmed again. When the day of the competition comes you will want to give your goat a bath and a nice groom. Then you will want to lay shavings inside her stall. The shavings will help keep her clean but you might need to bring your own shavings though. Before it is your turn entering the ring you will want to have a brush handy, and you will want to brush your goat before entering the ring.
Showing your goat. You will need to enter the ring with confidence. It might be a bit frightening for your first time, but if you show that you’re overly nervous your goat might be too. Make sure you keep approximately 3 feet between you and the other goats. You will need to lead your goat with a small chain and enter the ring. You’ll walk your goat on the left side with your right hand clockwise, moving slowly but steadily lead your goat so she keeps her head relatively high showing off her movement. And that’s just a few ways to care for, train and show your goat at a 4-H fair competition.
That’s my 2016 4-H speech, I hope you enjoyed it and it might inspire you to join 4-H and do the same!
~ Alesha Dodd
Alesha Dodd, 14, has been homeschooled her whole life.