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K-State Research and Extension

Local 4-H’ers care for calves orphaned by wildfires

What we are doing:

orphaned calvesKansas 4-H has a long history of bringing out the best in youth, through experiences both planned and unplanned. When raging wildfires destroyed property and killed thousands of beef cattle in southwest Kansas, 4-H clubs stepped in to care for the youngest survivors. Clubs joined forces to shelter and raise orphaned calves. The necessary feed and supplies were either donated or provided by the host families. Once the calves were healthy and the producers were ready to take them back, the calves were returned to the ranchers.

Our impact:

Kansas 4-H members fed and cared for more than 100 orphaned calves while ranchers focused on rebuilding their operations.

The calves were fed three times a day, calves and pens were cleaned daily, and older 4-H’ers applied burn cream and administered medication.

At least 10 clubs in multiple counties took part in the effort. Some calves were shown at local fairs.

Parents helped move heavy supplies and provided supervision.

What started as a crisis bloomed into an endeavor that benefitted calves, ranchers and 4-H families.

“Our son Colman is a 4-H member who cared for one of the calves from the Rhodes Ranch. The experience helped him overcome some obstacles with his ADHD. My husband and I will never be able to thank the Rhodeses enough for what they gave to our family and especially to our son.”

— Tonya Mousel,Meade County 4-H parent.