13 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Livestock At Fair
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13 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Livestock At Fair

There are live animals that are there to preform; they're not there just for your entertainment.

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13 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Livestock At Fair
Soup and Whiskey

Are you super excited because the county fair is coming soon? Me too. As a previous member of a 4-H Club and a proud owner of goats and pigs, I’ve attended my share of county fairs and I’ve seen a lot of different types of people come and go throughout the barns. If you don’t already know, 4-H is a club that helps young people become more productive and teaches them useful skills such as agriculture and much more. In my own personal experience, I was taught how to raise dairy goats, pigs, and turkeys and was shown how to properly show them in front of judges. I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve attended the fair that different people react the same way to the animals each and every time, so in order to try and break the cycle, I wanted to give some pointers, tips, and share some advice to you before you enter any of the animal barns at the fair! Please read, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

1. Use your indoor voices when you enter barn.

There are so many people in the barns that want to see the animals and it can get very loud at times. You get to come and go at your own leisure, but the people on farm duty (or members of 4-H) have to stay there and experience the loud sound in all of its glory. After a long day, hearing a bunch of teenagers freak out over seeing a chicken poop can be a little bit too much

2. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

If I had a dime for every single time that I saw someone eat fries or a pizza right after petting a goat or a pig without washing their hands (soooo many times), I would have enough money to buy food from the fair. More times than not, there will be a hand sanitizer station outside of one of the barns. Use it. Religiously. These animals are not afraid to pee and then lay down and roll around in it. You should be afraid, though, so wash your hands after petting an animal and more importantly wash your hands before you eat some food with your hands.

3. Don’t, I repeat, do not hit the animals.

I remember walking into the goat barn after running an errand and I saw a huge herd of children on a field trip enter the barn with their teachers. I thought it was pretty cute because all the kids were super excited to see the animals, but then as I walked over to my baby goats, I saw a couple of the kids hitting them on the head for no reason. I yelled at them, of course, but later that day I saw other people hitting pigs and even smacking their hands against bunny cages. Why? Don’t ask me. Just don’t do it, it’s scary to the animals.

4. Don’t feed the animals.

A bunch of animals have different diets and some animals cannot handle certain foods as well as some animals can. While pigs can eat a bunch of different foods, other animals such as goats, bunnies, and cows cannot. I’ve seen random fair attendees feeding pretzels to cows and I’ve seen people attempt to feed pizza to my goats. If you’re not careful, the food you give them can actually make them very sick because their stomachs are not used to be given foods that we eat regularly.

5. Don’t litter in the animal’s pens or outside them.

If you don’t already know, it’s really awful to litter. Animals will eat what you drop if they are in range of it. Just be careful. If you wouldn’t eat your popcorn bag, then don’t let it lay there for a goat to eat it.

6. Don’t feed the animals the straw they use as bedding.

There are certain animals, like goats, that sleep on straw. They don’t eat the straw, they eat hay. They pee and poop in the straw and they usually have a bag in their pen that specifically contains hay for them to eat. If you think you are the only one who has picked up a piece of straw and tried to get the goat to eat it, you’re a bit mistaken and you made my goat eat a piece of poopy straw, you monster.

7. If you see an open feed bag, don’t take from it and feed the animal, even if the food is specifically for that animal.

So there is a stall where the animals stay and then beside it, there is usually a something called a tack stall. A tack stall is a pen that contains the supplies for the animals, and sometimes it’s where people keep their animal’s food supply. If you are walking into the barn and you see a bag of oats or pellets that has a goat design on it, it doesn’t mean that every single goat can eat that type of food and it especially doesn’t mean that you can take from it. Like I said earlier, animals all have different diets. Some animals are allergic to certain types of grain and will get bloated and uncomfortable or can even die from having food that is outside of their diet.

8. Don’t try to startle the animals on purpose.

It’s not cool or funny to make an animal freak out. You can get hurt if the animal is startled or if it feels threatened. I’ve had more than a fair share of people come into the barn and try to startle my goats because they want to see them faint. It’s a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita which causes the goat’s muscles to freeze when it’s startled and not every goat you see has it.

9. Don’t let yourself into any stall to get closer to the animal.

Please. Why would you do that? Why?

10. Be kind to the animal owners.

They put up with soooo much throughout the day. The average animal owner or 4-H member has put up with at least 10 of the tips listed. If you could take some time to think of something bizarre, like having to remind someone not to lower their baby into a goat pen, then you should know that it has all happened and we have all said somethings that we never thought we would have to say. “Please don’t try to ride that bull, ma’am!” Fair time. Yippee.

11. Watch your kids if you have some.

We have to watch our animals, not your children. That’s your job and we don’t want any children to be bitten or hurt by any of the animals. Be careful about letting them stick their hands in or petting an animal. Goats will sometimes bite but not always. Turkeys and chickens will peck because they think your fingers are worms. Pigs will try to nip and when they do, it hurts BADLY.

12. Ask questions.

It’s always better to ask questions. If you see a 4-H member with their animal, go ahead and ask them any questions you have. We are partially there for that reason.

13. Be understanding on the last day of fair.

On the last day of fair, a lot of people who own meat animals have to say goodbye for the last time. It can be very hard for some people and if you see a kid hugging their turkey or their pig and crying, be understanding and kind. Give them space and let them cry. For some people, food is food, and for others, it’s saying goodbye to a friend. It was a long time coming, but it can be very difficult.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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