Beginners excel in school pig handling

Royal Adelaide Show 2019: Beginners excel in school pig handling


Royal Adelaide Show
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The decision to enter into the school pig handling competition at the Royal Adelaide Show for the first time proved to be a worthwhile exercise for Mount Compass Area school, with year 12 students Courtney Holbourn and Angel Kean taking out first place in the high school category.

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The decision to enter into the school pig handling competition at the Royal Adelaide Show for the first time proved to be a worthwhile exercise for Mount Compass Area school, with year 12 students Courtney Holbourn and Angel Kean taking out first place in the high school category.

Mount Compass Area School and Kadina Memorial School entered pairs for the first time, and competed against students from Urrbrae Agricultural High School and Coomandook Area School.

The pair moved two pigs through course from one gate to another in just one minute and 22 seconds, finishing atop a field of 10 pair entries, and 26 seconds quicker than the next quickest pair.

In addition to the impressive time, judge Graham Reu, Clare, said the winning pair were a "standout" in the competition, and communicated well.

"They got the pigs to move as quick as possible by working together as a team," he said.

Ms Kean said it was important to have a plan before starting.

"It's important to work together on one pig, rather than try to do your own thing with a pig, that gets it done quicker."

Mount Compass Area school does not have a pig program, but Ms Holbourn said it was on the cards for next year.

"We'll miss out, but it will be really exciting for the year elevens," she said.

"We do led steers, dairy, goats and chickens already and pigs was next on our list, so we thought we'd give it a go and see how we went."

Ms Kean has six breeding sows on her family property, and wants to become a pig farmer, while Ms Holbourn, who is heading to Qld next year to work on a cattle station, said she was interested in being involved in the industry in the coming years.

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In the university section, first time entrants once again reigned supreme, with University of Adelaide students veterinary science students Lily Walker and Matthew Stacy winning the category.

The pair are members of Pig Club at the Roseworthy campus, as were all seven entries in the class.

Mr Stacy said the club, which involves handling and caring for pigs, and learning more about the animals from visiting vets, was a helpful tool for assisting the students with making decisions about their future careers, as well as being "really good fun".

"We're all still figuring out exactly what we want to do, the exposure we get to pigs in Pig Club is a good motivator (for being involved), and it really helps us get an idea of whether this is something we want to pursue," he said.

Ms Walker said it was very exciting to win in her first year competing, and enjoyed having the opportunity to work with pigs.

"They're pretty similar to other animals like dogs, so you can make a good connection with them," she said.

"We like to think they know us but I suppose you don't really know. It's nice to be able to train them and work alongside them, they're all pretty friendly."

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