The following article is Roy’s report for his Pet merit badge. We asked Roy if we could share it with you.
At the beginning of October we had a meeting about raising a pig and showing through the school system and FFA. I committed myself to take care of the pig and paid $50.00. At the meeting they handed out a wooden sign that I was to paint and put the pigs name on to hang on his pen.
A few days before the pigs were to arrive I had to get the pen ready by putting shavings in the front section and making sure the water was working and that the feeder was ready on the gate to the pen. Everyone was so excited when the pigs arrived. The pigs were all squealing.
There were 12 pigs that were in the stock trailer when it backed up to the Fannin County AG barn. We drew numbers for picking a pig out of the trailer. I was number 11 and I picked “Pork Chop” who weighed around 80 lbs to start. At that time the pigs were roughly 4 weeks old.
At the beginning of raising Pork Chop I had to get him used to me and build trust with him. I would go in the pen and sit with him so he would get used to me. I had to go buy supplies as far as a whip, brush, shampoo and conditioner, lotion and a show shine spray for show time. Once he was comfortable with me I introduced him to the brush.
I would brush him everyday. Once he was ok with the brush I introduced him to the whip. The way to do that was to take the whip and rub it on him around the back of his ears. After a couple of weeks I took Pork Chop out of his pen using the whip to direct him and walk him.
Everyday during the week in the morning the class for the high school would go to the ag barn and feed all the animals. Every afternoon I would go to the barn and feed Pork Chop, clean his pen, check the water and work him by driving him with the whip. On the weekends I had to go and feed twice a day and still clean the pen and work Pork Chop.
After a few weeks I was able to start driving Pork Chop around the outside of the ag barn. My first thought was that he would run once he was out of the barn. The ag teachers told me that he knew where he gets fed so he would not go far. Everyday I worked with him so that he would know what we had to do when we went to a show.
The ag teachers told me to watch you tube videos to see how others train and work their pig. One of the sites was Weavers who also sells whips and cleaners and lotion for the pigs. It became time to start showing the pig. Our first show was in Walker County.
That show was called “Deck the Hogs”. In that show I placed in 2nd in showmanship and 4th in weight class. The next show was a practice show in Fannin county with a few students training us. The Fannin county show was called “Pigs on the Ridge” and there I made 2nd in weight class. The next show in Gilmer County was called “Swine Spectacular” and I placed 5th in showmanship.
The last show was in Perry, Georgia at the Georgia National Fairgrounds for the “Georgia Junior National Livestock Show”. It was a lot of fun and was 3 days of shows that I showed for 2 days. The judge came and spoke to me and told me I would have been 11th, but they only awarded 10 places. I was one of 115 7th graders. There were over 2,000 pigs for the pig show.
Once the pigs arrived back to the barns they didn’t now that they were on the count down to slaughter. The pigs were raised to grow, show and provide meat for the sponsors who purchased the pigs. I am sad he had to leave but know it is what he was meant to do. I have had a lot of fun raising “Pork Chop” and look forward to raising another pig next yea
– by Roy, Second Class Scout