Activities are youth centered and include opportunities for the application of knowledge and skills at three different levels of experience: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
- budgeting decisions
- dietary needs of pigs
- pre-show preparation; showmanship; and judging
- ethical decision-making in caring for and showing swine
Youth will enjoy naming breeds, learning swine body parts, judging market hogs, exploring a digestive system, examining a healthy pig, identifying pork cuts, practice fitting & showing & many other activities. Grades 3-5.
Are You Ready to Learn More About Pigs?
Through the activities in this guide, you’ll learn about pig parts, breeds, cost of raising pigs, how to care for your pigs and much, much more. If you don’t already have pigs, some of the activities will help you decide whether or not you want to take pigs as a 4‑H project.
Many of the things you’ll learn are skills you’ll use in your life, such as:
- Speaking to groups
- Working with other people
- Making decisions
- Being responsible
- Planning and organizing
- Learning to learn
Swine 1 Project Guidelines
- Do a minimum of seven activities in Level 1 of the Swine Achievement Program each year.
- Complete Level 1 within three years.
- Practice and develop the life skills of relating to others, making decisions, learning to learn and communicating with others.
- Participate in a minimum of three of the learning experiences listed on Setting Goals each year.
- Increase your swine knowledge and skills.
Your Project Helper
On your team supporting you and making learning more fun is your project helper. This person may be a parent, swine breeder, project leader or advisor, a neighbor or an older friend who knows about pigs. As you do the activities, you’ll discuss with your helper what you did and the questions in the “Talk it Over” part of each activity. Sometimes your helper will need to work with you to identify resources, including people, organizations, events, magazines and books necessary to complete an activity.
Activities in Swine 2 include managing baby pigs, balancing a ration, exploring swine diseases, preparing pork, discovering swine careers and packing a show box. Grades 6-8.
Swine 2 Project Guidelines
- Do a minimum of seven activities in Level 2 of the Swine Achievement Program each year.
- Complete Level 2 within three years from the time you begin.
- Practice and develop the life skills of making decisions, leading self and others, relating to change and planning and organizing.
- Participate in a minimum of five of the learning experiences listed on the Planning Guide each year.
- Keep the Planning Guide current by setting project goals and recording project highlights you experience.
- Increase your swine knowledge and skills.
Advanced youth will plan a breeding system, judge breeding gilts, design a swine operation, complete a job application, explore career opportunities and international markets plus many other challenging activities.
Swine 3 Project Guidelines
- Do a minimum of seven activities in Level 3 of the Swine Achievement Program each year.
- Complete this level within three years. Participate in a minimum of five of the learning experiences listed each year.
- Practice and develop the life skills of leading others, making decisions, planning and communicating while you learn to take risks, think creatively, use community resources, explore careers and take responsibility.
- Keep the Planning Guide current including project goals and listing project highlights as they occur.
- Share your swine knowledge and skills with others.
Packed with activities to involve the entire group. Youth will plan a program, complete project records, develop a management calendar, explore the pork quality assurance program & investigate character education.
Being a Project Helper
A young person has asked you to serve as his/her helper for this level of the Swine Project. You may be a family member, project leader or advisor, teacher or a neighbor. Your role in guiding, encouraging and rewarding progress is very important. How you choose to be involved will often determine the success the youth has in developing important life skills while learning what pigs are all about. The youth’s interest in swine is the vehicle leading to life skill development. You’ll find that these guides are designed to encourage active involvement and exploration rather than simply providing answers.
- Review the Swine Helper’s Guide.
- Support youth in his/her efforts to set goals and complete the Swine Program.
- Serve as a resource person to help connect youth with the community, resource materials and others knowledgeable about the project.
Developing Life Skills
To be successful in your role as a 4‑H Swine Project Leader or Helper, there are important concepts that deserve your attention and understanding.
Ages and Stages of Youth Development
As you work with young people, it is important to take into account where they are in their stage of development. Not all people develop in the same way at the same age. But there are certain patterns within youth development that are commonly expressed by most youth. Understanding these characteristics will help you better reach and teach your audience.
Basic Life Skill Development
As a helper for the swine project, one of your primary goals is to help youth gain knowledge about swine. However, it is equally important to emphasize the learning of “life skills.” These skills transfer beyond the actual activity. Life skills are critical in helping young people become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. The Targeting Life Skills (TLS) Model (Hendricks, 1996), identifies and divides the major life skills targeted in 4‑H youth development by the four H’s from the 4‑H clover that represent Head, Heart, Hands and Health. These four are further divided into categories and then into specific life skills as shown.
Project Activity Guides
This project activity guide is a part of the 4‑H “Skills for Life” Animal Science Series. The three youth guides in the swine series are designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners respectively. Each guide includes an achievement program to provide challenging activities, a way to expand project experiences beyond the animal and a means to recognize youth for what they have accomplished. The activities in this guide are specifically designed to help youth develop skills in decision making, relating to others, communicating with others and learning to learn.
Each guide is organized with four chapters:
1. Selection and Judging
2. Management and Health
3. Nutrition and Carcass
4. Beyond the Pen