Caring for animals teaches local 4-H members life lessons in responsibility

As twins McKenzie and Maddie Burgett can attest, it takes responsibility, commitment and many hours of work to bring animals to the 4H auction.

At last summer’s Carroll County 4H auction, Carroll County Energy purchased three chickens from McKenzie and three rabbits from twin sister Maddie.

The girls live on a farm with their parents and brother. Their mother, a Jenkins, grew up on a farm, and their father’s livelihood is farming, so the girls were born into the family business.  

The responsibility of caring for their 4-H animals is something the twins take very seriously. Their mornings begin with feedings and animal care — regardless of school or extracurricular activities.

“Caring for animals is like caring for infants, in a way,” Mackenzie said. “You feed them, make sure they’re clean and their home is neat, and when they’re sick you give them medicine.”

While McKenzie and Maddie care for the animals so they are happy and healthy, they understand that the chickens and rabbits are not pets, but raised for consumption. “We do not name our food.”

When asked about their favorite part of 4H, they both answered, “taking care of the animals,” and, predictably, their least favorite part was “going to school and leaving the animals.”

Spending some time with these young ladies gives an appreciation for the behind-the-scenes life on the farm. Learning to care for animals isn’t just a hobby for 4H children, it is a way of life and it is where they learn to perfect the care of their animals.