Monday, April 9, 2012

Showing goats in 4-H and beyond

Story by Kate Johnson

When my kids first joined 4-H, they chose Dairy Goats as their main project because they liked the idea of being able to show the same goats year after year as opposed to having to sell them at the end of each fair. And I loved the idea of having fresh milk to drink and make cheese from during the milking season.

We started with a small Nubian doe for my oldest daughter and a little Nigerian Dwarf wether for my youngest. That was four years ago, and this year we will be bringing 12-14 goats to fair, after kidding four of our does this spring. Funny thing about dairy goats — they're a bit like potato chips — you can't stop with just one!

Showing goats with 4-H has been a wonderful experience for my daughters. They have learned a lot about commitment and responsibility by having to care for, train and even milk their own goats throughout the year. They've also learned poise and confidence in the show ring, how to win well and lose with grace, and some other useful skills like cheese and soap making.

There are many other opportunities to show dairy goats beyond 4-H and the county fair, too. Each April, the Weld County Goat Extravaganza in Greeley hosts the largest gathering of goats in our area with clinics, jackpot showmanship classes and buck and doe shows for not only dairy goats, but also market, fiber and pygmy goats as well. For more information, please visit

The Colorado Dairy Goat Association also hosts several shows between June and September which is a great way to get more showing experience and to meet many fine dairy goat breeders from Colorado, Wyoming and even Texas. CDGA hosts shows at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in June and September, and also two shows in Wyoming as well as at the Colorado State Fair. They have a wonderful youth showmanship program where participants are awarded points at each show to compete for some nice prizes at the end of the show season. For more information, please visit

If you're looking for a livestock experience for your kids that will be not only fun and educational but also practical with a great product, I can't think of a better place to start than with the silly, lovable dairy goat! 

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