Life on the Farm

Hello everyone, my name is Skyler Ryan.

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I have had many learning experiences throughout my life. My two younger sisters and I were involved in 4-H in which we learned how to raise and show sheep and cattle. The best part of 4-H for me was the cattle part. We bought and bred a few cows and raised the calves as either breeding heifers or market steers or heifers. I learned so much from my ten years of experience working with our calves. I learned about winning and how good it felt. But most of all I learned what it was like to lose over and over again. Even though I worked hard all summer with my calves I often did not win the open shows that we traveled around to nor did I ever win our county fair. I came close so many times but rarely every made it to first place. Still, I kept working and moved forward, trying hard to win the next show. There was only one show that I ever won with my breeding heifer. And because I only won that one time I cherish the trophy that I received that much more.

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Through 4-H I also learned how to care for baby animals. One year we raised an orphaned lamb. And there were a few times when we had to bottle feed a couple of our newborn calves. One calf was born lame so we had to nurse her until she developed enough strength to stand on her own and follow her mother around efficiently. Another calf we had was born blind so we had to bottle feed him of course as he struggled to find his mother, plus he had a twin who he didn’t stand a chance against when it came to competing for their mother’s milk. I learned a great deal of responsibility and patience caring for these calves. Throughout the night we would have to get up and go out and feed them and check on them to make sure that they were doing ok.

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I also learned about the process of reproduction and the gift of life. To me there is nothing more special then when you see a cow go into labor and then you watch her give birth to her calf which she has been carrying for nine months. It moves something deep inside of me when I see that little calf try to stand for the first time as the cow licks him/her dry and the two create a bond. It is a very special moment to witness.

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Living out in the country on a farm my family has had their fair share of cats. Out of the ten cats that we have had two of them were bottle kittens. That was quite the experience caring for such tiny, yet energetic creatures. While they were absolutely adorable they were highly demanding. Wanting to eat all hours of the night and not wanting to go to sleep even though they could barley walk cause they were so tired. It was definitely a cherished experience for me in which I learned the basics of what it is like to care for someone else in a motherly way.

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Like children animals must be disciplined and they need to understand the meaning of the word “no”. Thanks to the animals that we have owned I learned how to properly discipline them. Obviously when correcting bad behavior we don’t want to go overboard with it, but we cant be too soft either. Plus, there is the fact that not all animals are the same. While some only need a stern no others require a little stricter form of correction. In the picture above Mikey wants to bring his prize into the house. A firm no makes it clear to him that bringing his prey inside is not acceptable.

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