Farm to Fair: Part Two
This summer we are taking you on a journey with Kylei Klein as she prepares her young calf for the 2016 Indiana State Fair in August.
Meet Kylei’s rookie Heifer, Kami. She is an Ayrshire Dairy Heifer. She is only a few months old and weighs approximately 500 pounds. A full grown Dairy Cow can weigh anywhere from 1,500-1,800 pounds! Since Kami is only a few months old, she has not been bred to have a calf yet – this won’t happen until Kami is 18-24 months old. This classifies Kami as a heifer rather than a cow.
Kylei’s feeding routine has stayed the same, a mixed ration of hay, oats, corn and supplements, to continue providing the accurate nutrition that Kami needs to grow. Growth is very important to Dairy Heifers as the judge looks for the most physically mature heifer in the ring.
The summers are a whirlwind for Kylei with her busy personal life and active role playing sports. She was recently named 1 st runner up to Miss Wayne County and she spends hours in the gym every morning for basketball and volleyball. These activities keep her busy all day so she and her father tend to make their way to the barn to lead the calves anywhere from 8 PM – 10 PM when the day has cooled down for both Kylei and Kami. It is much more pleasant for the two of them to practice showing in the cool evenings rather than the 90 degree, humid Indiana days.
Like people, every calf has a different personality. Kami is rather shy and not as outgoing as Kylei’s other heifers but she has transitioned well to the show heifer life.
“She has adjusted so well to being on the halter, after the first day they put it on she acted like she had always been on a lead,” said Kylei. “She is so calm.”
Kami is doing great right now and Kylei hopes she will be this calm at the Wayne County Dairy Show so that the judge can get the best look at all of Kami’s Ayrshire Dairy Heifer features.
Judges look for different things in a heifer than they do for a cow as a heifer has not started producing milk yet and their physical features can vary. Judges are looking for a calf who has a clean, attractive head, neck and shoulder, a level top on her rear-end, proper leg structure, the ability to carry and give birth to a calf and that has desirable traits of the specific breed. The calf that displays the most of these traits will come out of the ring on top.
Kylei will lead Kami into the ring for the first time on June 23 rd at her county fair’s Dairy Show. Stayed tuned for our next blog as we visit the Wayne County 4-H Fair to watch Kylei and her calf own the show ring!