Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Monthly Animal Challenge

Animal Challenge Instructions
 

Don’t forget to submit your entries to the 4-H office by the 3rd of the next month! Send a photo of your completed challenge to somer.meade@wsu.edu to be entered into our drawing for prizes at the end of our 4-H year.

Return to the Main Challenge Page

Instructions

MAY 2021

Description

Youth will design their own unique herd brand.  

Objectives 

After completing this activity, youth will know a basic history of brands and their purpose, create their own unique brand, and cement their understanding of why animals need to be identified. 

Supplies

  • Cardboard (from home)
  • Rubber Bands
  • Scissors (from home)
  • Glue Sticks 

Background

Different Species of Animals use different forms of identification just like we have school id cards or driver’s licenses to show other people who we are. In the Animal Identification Matching Activity we looked at the many different ways animals are identified by their owners but those means of identification have changed over time.  

For many years before we had microchips, before we had phones, before we had cars, before we had highways, many parts of the country did not have fences.  That meant that animals, like cows, could roam and graze wherever they wanted. It was up to cowboys to go find the cows that belonged to their ranch and gather them up.  Brands on the animals helped identify who a cow belonged to so that people didn’t accidentally take someone else’s animal.  When people stole cattle, law enforcement would look at the brands on the cows to prove who an animal belonged to.  This wasn’t just limited to the American old west. We know that people branded animals as in Ancient Egypt as long ago as 2700 BC. 

What is branding? A hot iron applied to the skin creates a permanent mark quickly on the skin of an animal. Branding is still the #1 method of identification because it is permanent, cattle cannot lose it like they could possibly lose a tag.  

Animals still go missing today and it is important to prove who the animal belongs to so it can go home.  If a fence breaks and a cow gets out into the road someone has to call the rancher to make sure they save the cow from getting hit by a car! A brand, or other form of identification, helps people do that. Here in Washington there are people who track registered brands and can look up who an animal belongs to based on the brand.  If a cow gets stolen then that person can help read the brand. Cows are also mischievous and can get out of fields and get lost. 

What makes a good brand? 

Brands are made of simple letters, numbers, characters, and symbols.  Like an emoji or character that you might text. <3 🙂 Letters can be sideways, or upside down. 

Your brand represents the name of your family, or ranch.  It can share something that is important to you or that you care about.  Brands can be funny or you can take a letter, such as maybe the first letter of your first name, and use that in your brand in different ways. 

For more information and examples of brands, view our animal science activity guide, found here:  https://extension.wsu.edu/skamania/youth/for-youth/grab-go-kits/ 

Directions

Look at the samples of brands and choose a design to represent your herd (your family or maybe any animals you are raising).  You can combine designs or include other symbols not seen.  Key Advice: try to use as little detail as possible.   

  1. Draw a sample of your brand onto the cardboard.  
  2. When you like your finished design, Rub glue all over the drawing
  3. Cut your rubber bands and place them on the outline of your drawing. You can use short and long pieces of rubber bands to complete your brand.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Stamp!  Put your brand here. 

It is also important to get your brand approved by local authorities.  Watch for a fun challenge to “approve” your brand with the Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat 4-H Office! 

Reflect & Apply Questions

What symbols can you identify around you?

How do you label things that belong to you or your family? 

If your animal gets lost how do people know to contact you? 

Fair Entry

This is a great project for an educational display that could be entered as part of animal science or veterinary science, submitted as a poster, or as a presentation. All items entered should include 3×5″ card explaining exhibit: what item is/its use, what was done/learned, publication title/page# where goals listed for the project if applicable. 

Monthly Challenge Archive

Instructions

APRIL 2021

The Challenge: Create a comparison sheet that shows how to care for animals in hot summer weather.  This can be for an animal you already own, or an animal you would like to own. It should include information on how to feed the animal, what their living situation (home, pen, coop, cage, or pasture) needs to keep the animal healthy, and what sort of weather is dangerous for that animal.

What You Need: Paper and writing supplies. You may need books from the library or access to the internet to research. Ask your 4-H leader for help if it is your project species.

How to prepare: Animals need to be cared for in different ways during different weather. Think about the upcoming summer and how the animal you choose might need to have its living set-up changed to deal with high levels of heat. Research by yourself or with an adult what sort of weather is dangerous for your animal and what someone who raises that type of animal might change to keep their animals healthy.

What to do: First, research your animal! Then make a list or drawing of how to care for that animal in good weather and then make a comparison list or drawing of how that animal’s home, pen, coop, cage, or pasture might need to change for that animal to be healthy in hot weather.

Reflection Questions: What did you find most surprising about what animals need? Do you do any of the things you learned about to help keep yourself cool during the summer?  How do you know if it is too hot for animals that you own?  Do you need to prepare for good and bad weather when you own an animal? How can you do that as a responsible animal owner?

For Fair Entry: This is a great project for an educational display that could be entered as part of animal science or veterinary science, submitted as a poster, or as a presentation. All items entered should include 3×5″ card explaining exhibit: what item is/its use, what was done/learned, publication title/page# where goals listed for the project if applicable. 

4-H Scorecard for Educational Display (PDF)

Instructions

MARCH 2021

The Challenge: Create a visual display (Poster, Table Display, or something else) for how much time it takes to raise the animal of your choice. This can be for an animal you already own, or an animal you would like to own. It should include the time it takes to care for this animal daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. 

What You Need: Art/Craft Supplies of your choosing or a computer to create a visual representation in a digital format.

How to prepare: Decide on what animal you want to learn about. You will need to look up what it would take for an animal that you don’t have experience with. Decide if you need to research where you can go or who you can ask to help find materials.  Make a list of all of the things that someone might spend time on while they care for an animal like time spent feeding & watering, grooming, cleaning out stalls/homes, and training/exercise. Be thinking about how you could display that time in an eye-catching way. 

What to do: First, crunch the numbers. Once you have chosen the animal, start to work through how much time you do spend or would need to spend on a daily basis. Then calculate the amount of time on a weekly basis. Once you have those numbers, you can multiply them by 4 to get the average monthly time and then by 12 to get the annual amount of time. Now that you have your numbers, decide on how you will display that information in a way that is clear and appealing. Maybe you use colors, maybe you use photos, maybe you have a chart or graph. 

Gather the supplies needed, and assemble your virtual or physical display. 

Reflection Questions: What did you find most surprising about this project? What do you think someone else who is not familiar with this animal would find interesting/surprising? Why is understanding the time commitment for owning and raising this animal important? 

For Fair Entry: This is a great project for an educational display that could be entered as part of animal science or veterinary science, submitted as a poster, or as a presentation. For the Skamania County Fair, possible classes are listed under 4-H Social Sciences (Class 690). The 2019 Premium Book entry rules for visual displays are as follows: May exhibit as many posters, chart or graph per project. ONLY one is eligible to go to state. • Size 14” x 22” minimum. • Name, exhibit number address and club name required on back of each poster.  

4-H Scorecard for Educational Display (PDF)