Show Mom Perspective: Goats Make a Great Starter Project, Require Less Equipment

Holly Hummel understands the value of youth programs and the work ethic, responsibility and basic skills like decision making and public speaking that are a result of involvement in 4-H and FFA. As a mother of four, she also understands the importance of children having a positive experience with their livestock projects and recommends Boer goats as a specie that is great to start with.

“Goats make great starter projects, both because of their size and lack of intimidation-factor, as well as having less equipment requirements,” Holly said. “Goats are incredibly stubborn! But, having the kids make friends with them initially will get you much further than thinking you can break their spirit later on.”

Holly grew up showing lambs and cattle in Oregon. Now, along with her husband, Dale, they are raising their four children, Dylan, 19; Tara, 17; Chase, 13; and Kadie, 12, to learn and appreciate caring for and showing livestock as owners of Hummel Livestock at Cabery, Ill. The family shows year-round, and has exhibited at the North American, American Royal, National Western, Cow Palace, ABGA Jr Nationals and most recently the Arizona National. Holly took some time from her busy schedule to share what supplies and equipment her family relies on to prepare and show their goats.

“If I could recommend one single piece of equipment it would be a large mirror for kids to practice showing in front of.  It is my opinion that the showman has more control over how well a goat gets along in a show than any other species,” Holly said, saying her kids exercise, work leg hair, practice setting them up and showing three to five days a week.

In addition to a mirror, she recommends a nylon rope halter to walk and practice showing the goats with, as she said most people are going away from showing on a chain due to too many goats choking out in the show ring.

Around the Barn

With a key focus on animal health and nutrition, feed pans and water buckets are of upmost importance to the Hummel family. They use hanging feeders and lime green water buckets.

“Does the color of the water bucket matter? My husband would tell you it does. We use the lime green buckets because they show dirt well and my husband believes the goats prefer to drink out of them over other colors. The most important part though is to be sure the bucket is small enough that it can easily be changed daily. We dump our 2.5-gallon water buckets, wipe them out and fill with fresh water every time we feed,” Holly said.

Since the Hummel family started showing, eight years ago, they have seen a significant increase in the amount of grooming and fitting supplies they need. Equipment that make these tasks more efficient include a fitting stand and a blower. They also use Sure Coat Goat and Lamb a few times each week when working leg hair

They use hoof trimmers, trimming hooves every few weeks to help keep the goats correct on their feet and legs. Another essential tool is Lister or Premier clippers with cover coat blades. The Hummels generally shear goats two or three days prior to a show, and then blanket them with ProCool blankets.

“In the past few years a lot has changed in the show goat world. Most people use to blow the dirt out of their goats, shear them and walk into the ring with them. A lot more effort is being put into presentation now. We are working and training leg hair at home and pulling legs at shows. The appeal this has for people showing other species has been great, and more and more people are showing goats as they more easily can be termed quality livestock,” she said.

Goin’ Showin’

When it is time to load the trailer and head to the show, the Hummel family wants to make sure their animals stay healthy. To make sure the goats keep eating and drinking, they pack the same feed pans and buckets to the shows with them that the goats have used in the pens at home. They also make sure to have ample amounts of feed and water, Vita Charge® Gel, Kaopectin, a muzzle and a drench gun.

“Water is the most important thing we take to shows. Hydration is key to keeping them fresh, and most animals do not want to drink water that has a different smell/taste than what they are used to,” Holly said.

In addition to a fitting table, they also have show box full of show day prep supplies that includes shampoo, conditioner, baby powder, adhesive, Andis clippers, Hocus Pocus, show halters and a number clip.

Bedding is another item the Hummel family makes sure to take with them.

“Sometimes we will haul ‘dirty’ shavings from their pen at home if it is a show where we are not allowed to muzzle, and we are worried about them eating shavings.”

And, once she has all the supplies and equipment to make sure the goats are eating and show ring-ready, Holly makes sure she has supplies to make sure her girls are polished and professional looking when they go into the ring. She keeps a satchel of items to make sure their hair is out of their faces. She also keeps a pair of long socks for youngest daughter, Kadie, so her boots don’t rub on her legs, and oldest daughter, Tara, has her own pair of “lucky” socks. There’s just one more thing Holly doesn’t leave home without.

“SNACKS! Nobody wants cranky kids because they are hungry,” this experienced show mom said with a smile.

The Hummel family spends hours upon hours working together in the barn and traveling to shows on their goat projects as well as the other species they show. At the 2018 Illinois State Fair, they were busy showing four species, and excelled, with Tara showing the Grand Champion Land of Lincoln Steer (bred-and-born in Illinois purebred) and Kadie showing the Reserve Champion Market Goat. The competition, experiences and memories are all things as a mom, Holly looks forward to sharing with her family.

“Time spent together, working together in the barn on a daily basis, as well as at shows is the biggest benefit of this activity for our family. Winning is always fun, and I do think that this industry instills a healthy dose of competitive nature into our youth. But it also teaches them to work together, to learn from other’s example and to be an example themselves. It has been extremely rewarding to witness my older kids ‘getting it’ and passing their experience, knowledge and skills on to others.”



For a complete list of recommended products with buy now links:

Sure Champ Checklist of Show Goat Equipment

For a downloadable version of the show Goat checklist:

Sure Champ Show Goat Equipment for Beginners

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