Animal check-ins begin a junior show

Mikayla Cascarano pours food for her rabbits as she gets them settled in Wednesday, Jan. 29. She was showing this pen of bunnies at the Bee County Junior Livestock and Homemakers Show.

BEEVILLE – Raising chickens and rabbits might sound easy to some, but students Wednesday, Jan. 29, found out different.

Jesse Reichert, 7, was checking in two cages of chickens that morning at the Bee County Junior Livestock and Homemakers Show.

“This is his first year,” his mother, Joan Reichert, said. “I think we need to put in more work next year.

“This is a learning experience for us.”

The youngster was busy carrying his birds to their cages — after each passed the inspection of Robert E. Handy, judge of the poultry division.

“The hardest part is walking them,” said the youngster, a member of Skidmore 4H. “First they want to go to the left side, and then they want to go to the right side.”

Just one table down, Mikayla Cascarano was wrapping up the check-in of her rabbits and getting the pens ready.

“They are a fun project,” she said. “You can really create a bond with them.”

As this isn’t a terminal show — the animals aren’t slaughtered at the end — she is able to take them home.

So, naming them isn’t an issue.

“One of them is named Biggie Smalls,” shes said. “He is the biggest but gets the least amount of food.”

Now 13 and also member of Skidmore 4H, Cascarano will also be showing pigs this year.

“Rabbits are like your pets,” she said. “Pigs are like dogs.”

So don’t look for her to be showing a steer or heifer anytime soon.

Further down into the show barn, the pens were beginning to fill with animals.

Lambs had their spot.

Goats had the cages. The pigs had their bedding to take long midday naps.

Hayley Rodriguez was making sure that her lamb was staying warm in the cool midmorning air. A zebra-printed coat would keep it warm in the still 50 degree air.

“This is my second year competing with goats,” said Rodriguez, a Gone Country 4H member. “I have shown lambs for four years.”

In the past, the 11 year old has won grand and reserve champion with her lambs and goats at other shows — something she hoped would happen here.

After all, this is a family tradition with many of her relatives including her mom raising and competing with goats and lambs.

Judging would begin that afternoon and continue through Friday.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at