Animal Farm at Waitohu

 Jana Vodanovich aged nine, gives her champion calf Lavendar a final brush down before judging
Jana Vodanovich aged nine, gives her champion calf Lavendar a final brush down before judging

Waitohu School’s early ties to the rural sector are still acknowledged with the annual Lamb and Calf day and garden competitions.

Children had been raising and caring for the lamb or calf over the last three to four months, feeding, grooming and becoming a friend with their pet, before judging day. This year there were few lambs, only seven, as there were not many available for fostering, three calves and two goats were entered and arrived at school for the November 12 judging day.

Dot receives a final comb, before going into the ring with Sarita  Fulford aged nine, who has raised and cared for her.
Dot receives a final comb, before going into the ring with Sarita
Fulford aged nine, who has raised and cared for her.

The young owners were busy giving the pets a final clean and brush and maybe a bottle feed for the youngest, ready for their turn in the judging ring.

Here, lambs and kids were judged on care and rearing and being a pet — how well they related to their handler; could they be led around the ring, did they follow when untethered, and biggest challenge — could they find their “boss” when called. Children led them around the ring first on a lead, then only using voice of clicking fingers to keep the animal with them, and lastly leaving their pet at the beginning of the ring: would it go to them when called? This is where the bond between lamb and owner really came to test. Care and rearing was judged on the overall condition of the animal.

For the calves, ringcraft — leading and handling and care and rearing were points judged and best pet calf judged on the bond between calf and child. Judging was in two age groups, junior — five to eight years and senior the older children.

Judges were Mary Kilsby for lambs and goats and Rodney Hudson with the calves.

“The pet goats were very good but they can be very difficult,” Ms Kilsby said. With the temperament of goats they can be relied on to do the opposite to what is required in the show ring. “The champion lamb was very good. It’s nice to see the kids showing up with their lambs and making them pets. The cost of milk powder for correct feeding can be prohibitive.”

“There was a standard of calves and good competition,” said Mr Hudson. “It’s been a good season but there were not many lambs available.”

Results:

  • Junior Champion Kid: Zara Brooker who won the pet kid and care and rearing ribbons.
  • Junior Pet Lamb and Care and Rearing: 1st Sarita Fulford 2nd Daisy Braddock, in both sections
  • Senior Pet Lamb and Care and Rearing: Maggie Braddock 1st in both classes, 2nd Katie Williamson in both.
  • Senior Pet Lamb: 3rd Isaac Fulford. Care and Rearing: 3rd Blake Manning
  • Champion Lamb: Maggie, Reserve Champion: Katie.
  • Best First Year Lamb (entered) 1st equal Isaac and Sarita Fulford.
  • Calves: Junior ringcraft: 1st Jordan Blakeley 2nd Jana Vondanovich,
  • Care and Rearing: 1st Jana 2nd Jordan
  • Ringcraft: 1st Jordan, 2nd Jana
  • Champion Calf: Jana and Reserve Champion Jordan, with Jordan also taking the trophy for Best First Try.

Two former Waitohu girls, Kaitlin Vodanovich and Aleisha Blakeley, are now at Ōtaki College year seven, Kaitlin with her calf, Thistle and Aleisha reared a kid, Little Goat; they had to present at Waitohu to be able to go to the regional championships in Levin at the end of November.

Click for full view
Click for full view

A new addition to the agricultural side was a container garden. These were judged by David Brooker.

  • Vegetable Container Garden: 1st Saul Ward 2nd Ruby Thompson.
  • Flower Container Garden: 1st Lucy Gilpin 2nd Jordan Thompson.

The home vegetable and flower gardens are to be judged at a later date.

Rural schools between Te Horo and Opiki are eligible to enter the regional championships.