Students engage in animal care

Students+engage+in+animal+care

Kati Blaylock, Reporter

Having animals in the Agriculture barn is something that students are not unfamiliar with at NHS. After having a cow in previous years, students in Future Farmers of America (FFA) have decided to take on the task of caring for three goats this year.

As part of the FFA program, students have to complete a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) during their high school career. SAE’s do not have to be animal related, but animal related SAE’s seem to have sparked an interest for the various students participating this year.

“I decided on goats for my SAE because they are cute and I’ve always wanted to have goats,” junior Reagan Gay said. “Since I live in the city, I’ve never been able to own one but the Ag program has given me a good opportunity to care for one.”

Gay has been taking care of two Nigerian dwarf goats, which are known for their small size and their production of milk. 

“I chose to have the Dwarf goats because they are very friendly and do well in inclimate weather,” Gay said. “They also produce milk very well and taking care of them seemed like fun.”

Alongside these Nigerian Dwarfs, students have also been caring for a much larger goat. Junior Jordyn Regier decided to care for a Nubian goat for her SAE. 

“I chose to work with animals [for my SAE] because that’s what I want to do in my future,” Regier said. “We did a lot of research on feeding and health care and we interviewed an expert who raises goats for a living who gave us a lot of inside tips on what we would need to do in order to keep this goat happy and healthy.”

In order to further her caretaking experience, Regier chose to have her goat bred before she got her.

“She has gotten very big and we think we can start to tell the little babies are growing,” Regier said. “We are very excited to have the little ones running around here soon and once they are born we will care for them until they are ready for their new homes.”

In addition to caring for these animals, Gay and Regier have taught their goats various tricks.

“It’s really funny to see them stand and walk for some animal crackers,” Gay said. “It’s also cool to see how smart they can be when they put their mind to it.”

During this SAE experience, students have learned things they ordinarily would not have without the opportunity. 

“So far, I have gained knowledge on food rations and the general health and care of animals, especially goats, so that I know what to look for to better care and keep them safe,” Regier said.

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