Ag day a learning experience

Ag day at Pinon Hills Elementary School on Oct. 1 was too much fun. Dennis Hellwinkel told us all about dairy cows. He has 360 cows he milks twice a day starting at 3:30 a.m. His milk goes to Model Dairy. He brought four of the six types of dairy cows and said they produce seven to 10 gallons of milk per day.

Holsteins give the most milk but the other breeds produce the most cream. Can you believe a cow eats 90 pounds of food a day plus rolled corn and almond shells? A cow chews its cud 12 to 16 hours per day. He brought a Holstein, Brown Swiss, a Ayrshire and a Milking Shorthorn.

Mr. Hellwinkel asked the children which cow made chocolate milk. Of course, most said the brown cow and he corrected them. Nope, only humans make chocolate milk.

My next stop was with Judy Hellwinkel who had three beautiful chickens with her " an Araucana, a Plymouth Rock and a Leghorn. She explained to the kids that chickens don't need a rooster to lay eggs. She showed us how each egg has a little white spot in the yolk and if it has a dot within a dot, the egg has been fertilized. Man, the things we learn.

The next stop with Michelle Gibbons and Bridget Black and their beautiful goats. They had boar goats which are meat goats and Alpines which are dairy goats. The kids had a lot of fun petting them. The does are about 150 pounds and the bucks are about 250 - 300 pounds. They have predators: bears and coyotes.

Full Circle Compost had an exhibit of, you guessed it, worms. It was icky to say the least. The top layer was the compost worms which decompose and eat bacteria like paper cups, pineapple tops and flowers. The second layers are the earthworms which we use to fish, but they are soil dwellers and go after plant roots. At the third layer at two to three feet deep are the night crawlers. They surface for leaves and clippings and take them back underground. If you see a dirt pile with a single hole, that is from a night crawler.

Next was an up close and personal visit with Sadie, a 2-month-old calf, owned by Charlie Hone. Too cute. He explained how she could be 600 to 800 pounds when full grown and could live to be 20 years old. The tags on her ears can tell you her age, parent's names, shot history, etc.

The last station I got to was Domingo Uhart who had his gorgeous quarter horse named Daisy with him who weighs about 1,600 pounds. She was 17 hands tall and seemed to be more interested in eating the grass on the playground then parading around for the kids.

This was a really fun day for the kids and me too. Thanks for all who participated, we loved it and learned stuff at the same time.

n Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident and can be reached at 267-9350.


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