Market Hog Project unique to Coyote Acres

Payton Herben with her Market Hog Project, Hay Hay. The local swine project is the 4-H program in Alberta this year involving swine.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A few members of the High Prairie Coyote Acres 4-H Club can lay claim to truly being one of a kind!

Gillian Blackhurst, Lane Fogle, Mariah Herben, Payton Herben, Macy Meneice, and Rana Meneice are the only 4-H members in Alberta belonging to a Market Hog Project.

Sisters Mariah, 20, and Payton, 13 are raising hogs at their farm in the Big Meadow area northwest of High Prairie. Payton attends Prairie River Junior High School in High Prairie while Mariah has graduated.

Their father, Ryan, purchased the piglets at the Codesa Colony near Wanham Dec. 28, 2023. Each weighed in at around 75-95 pounds.

4-H clubs cover a wide variety of projects. One not commonly participated in by members are pigs, commonly called swine. Payton knows the project is rare.

“Yes, we are extremely proud of it and hoping it brings new members for the 2025 year,” she says.

This year, six members are involved in the swine project and eight more in the beef project. The swine project is taught by George Blackhurst.

Payton has thoroughly enjoyed raising her pig – she calls it Hay Hay – and is already looking forward to participating in the project next year. She has become very attached to Hay Hay and quickly discovered that pigs – well! – will eat virtually anything!

“Be ready to spend money on treats and try not to get too attached as they are easy to love,” she says.

A Favourite of Hay Hay’s is marshmallows.

Market Hog differs from the beef project. There are no categories like showmanship and grooming, but there will be a prize for best rate of gain.

While all 4-H members know all animals need proper care, each is different. In regard to pigs, they need “fattening up” in the final days before Achievement Day.

“Once it is closer to Achievement Day, you will have to feed them grain every three days which can be a lot,” says Payton.

“But other than that, it is easy going!”

She spends about one hour each day with Hay Hay and has become very attached to him – not uncommon for 4-H members whether the animal is a hog or cow. In this case, Payton recognizes the good and bad.

“Honestly I’m used to seeing them (animals) come and go, and they are getting very stinky so I won’t be too upset,” she laughs.

Coyote Acres 4-H Beef and Hog Achievement Day Show and Sale is Friday, May 24 at 4 p.m. at the High Prairie Agriplex.

Payton invites everyone to attend and support the club.

Coyote Acres 4-H booklets will be available to everyone attending to introduce visitors to the 4-H members and their projects.

Share this post

Post Comment