Agricultural Day

Glenbervie School 2023 Agricultural Day will be held on Thursday, 21st September.

Each year a special highlight of the Glenbervie School calendar is Agricultural Day. We consider it important for several reasons. It is part of being in a rural school and the Board and Staff are committed to keeping the rural character of the school. Ag Day is a school day and very much part of the curriculum. It will be held on the last Thursday of term so we can get the maximum participation from children and community members.

One of the significant aspects of Ag Day is animal handling, where the children bring a pet lamb, calf or goat that they have reared, to parade and compete in various classes.

The Board and the school community wish to encourage as many families as possible to enter an animal for Ag Day. If you have not considered keeping an animal, or have thought about it briefly and felt daunted by the prospect, we invite you to take a moment to read on.

Rearing an animal is a wonderful experience for a child and is a focus for their learning and development. They will learn how to care for their animal and train it. They will learn personal skills such as commitment, time management, and patience. This can be a greatly rewarding experience for the child, seeing their animal respond to the care and attention they give it.

Please scroll to the bottom of this page for more information on rearing a calf or lamb.

The school offers a great deal of support to animal handlers:

  • help with sourcing animals (goats are dependent on numbers*)

  • information on animal care

  • teaching about animal handling at school

  • regular bulletins in the school newsletters

  • an Ag Day committee

  • advice from Mrs Crooks (our Ag Day Committee staff representative)


  • Agricultural Day is held on a Thursday in September/October

  • Parents, grandparents, neighbours are very much part of the day. We welcome all visitors to our Agricultural Day

  • Food and refreshments are available on the day

Animal Handlers

  • Children are encouraged to raise, feed and care for a lamb, kid, or calf

  • Animals are eligible if they are born between 1 July and 31 August of the year

  • Calves are judged for leading, rearing (child’s effort) and beef or dairy type

  • Lambs/kids are judged on leading, calling and rearing

  • All animal handlers receive a ribbon of participation

  • Any competitor can also compete at the Whangarei Group Calf Club day at Barge Park, Maunu, usually in November

  • Booklets on animal handling are available from the school, ask your child’s teacher or at the school office

  • Newsletters have regular Ag Day updates

Extra Information

  • The Agricultural Day Committee organises the many aspects of the day. You can contact them (through the school office) if you would like to help – it’s a great way to become involved, meet people and of course, many hands make light work

  • There is an array of trophies to be won for the various classes, from senior to junior. Most of these trophies have been donated by families of children who came to Glenbervie School

  • Animal feed (milk powder) and teats can be obtained from farm supply outlets e.g. Wrightson's, Beta Farm Supplies. Feeding regimes and mixing instructions are always on the container

  • Coaching for animal handlers is given at school in the form of an information session

  • Mrs Crooks is the staff contact for anything to do with animals on Ag Day. The school may be able to provide contact numbers for obtaining animals

Rearing/ Handling a Calf

Day to day care:

  • Always wash the feeding bottle and teat after every meal.

  • Brush daily and use a damp cloth to clean around its face, under the front legs, on each flank and inside the ears.

  • Check that the calf’s shelter is clean.

  • If you tether your calf, initially the tether needs to be short. Secure the tether well with a snap hook (at the calf end) to a secure stake which can be shifted from time to time.

  • If possible, have your calf in a secure paddock so it can run free when not tethered.

  • Take the calf for a walk using a leading halter and lead with a snap hook on one end. Lead from the same side you will be on when in the ring

Weekly Care

  • Lengthen the tether as the calf gets used to it.

  • Loosen its collar gradually as your calf grows.

  • Watch for scouring (diarrhoea). Treat with electrolytes from a vet without delay.

  • If you have a bull calf and want to make a steer out of it, make sure it is docked before it is 3 weeks old. Ask a local farmer or your vet.

  • If the calf limps or kneels down to eat it may have footrot, a bacterial disease. Obtain help to cut it out and contact a vet for treatment.

  • Drench for worms if necessary. Consult a vet for drench dose rates and required frequency. It is important to change the type of drench used so that resistance to the drench is not built up.

  • Check for lice and keds. Pour-on treatments are used to control these.

Preparing your calf for Calf Club day


  • Begin training the calf at an early age. Make some time each day to play with the calf and caress it.

  • Talk quietly to it when feeding and playing so it gets to know your voice.

  • From about 10 days old your calf can be tethered with a halter to get it used to it.

  • Practice leading your calf in its paddock, always making sure you are on the left side of the calf. It helps to have someone walking behind your calf when you are starting out.

  • Practice your leading in all conditions – rain, wind. You want to get your calf used to strange noises.


This is when the judge checks that you have spent time with the calf. You will be asked you questions about the care of your calf. The judge wants to hear that you have been the main carer for your calf. If you are not sure about something don’t make it up!

You need to know about:

  • The breed

  • Their age

  • What can make your calf sick

  • Type

  • Vaccinations they have had.

Calves should be brushed (a nail brush is fine) to remove old stray hairs, then washed and shampooed with a mild soap seven days before Calf Club day.

Calves are judged in three categories:

  1. Leading

  2. Rearing

  3. Beef/Dairy Type

What to bring on the AG DAY

  1. Bucket

  2. Lead

  3. Milk bottle

  4. Any food your calf might need

  5. Cloths for wiping its mouth, bottom, hooves

  6. Tidy clothes. You need to look as tidy as the calf (NO gumboots. This is a health and safety issue.)

Rearing/ Handling a Lamb

Day to day care:

  1. Feed regularly and wash bottle after every feed

  2. Use a damp cloth to clean around the mouth after feeding

  3. You might sometimes need to check the ears. If they are waxy, get your parent to give them a gentle wash with a warm damp (NOT WET) cloth

  4. Sometimes the lamb may get a weepy eye. Once again, use a clean, warm damp cloth and wipe. If it isn't clear. You may need to talk to a vet or the farmer

  5. Check the lamb’s shelter (clean/ dry)

  6. Make sure that there is fresh water available

Weekly/ general care

  1. Do not wash the lamb. You can occasionally give it an “over-rub” with a damp cloth if it has got a muddy coat…but NO soap

  2. Loosen the collar as needed

  3. Watch for scouring (diarrhoea)

  4. Make sure the lamb is docked (unless it is a special breed)

  5. Check for lice (you may need to talk to a farmer)

  6. Make sure that the lamb has been vaccinated (check with the farmer before taking home.)

  7. Sometimes the lamb may need its bottom clipped slightly if it has had a bad case of scours (something Mum/ Dad needs to do. Not you)

Preparing the lamb for Ag Day


  1. Your first 2 weeks need to be spent bonding with your lamb….. talking, reading, cuddling etc

  2. Talk to it quietly when feeding it so it gets used to your voice.

  3. Train the lamb to come to your call by standing away from it with a bottle held behind your back (Get your parent to hold the lamb while you step away) Call it clearly/ strongly by name. Some of the time do this without a bottle. Practice this over and over again.


This is when the judge checks that you have spent time with the animal. They will ask you questions about how you have cared for your lamb. You need to know about:

  1. The breed

  2. Age

  3. What can make your lamb sick (parasites, worms, poisonous plants, fly strike.) Vaccinations (pulpy kidney, tetanus, malignant oedema, black disease, blackleg)

  4. Feeding and shelter

How you keep your lamb clean (ears, between legs, mouth… BUT not washing it!!)


  1. Start this by getting the lamb used to being on a lead.

  2. REMEMBER that the lamb must be on your RIGHT. Walk it around the lawn or paddock. Only short walks to start with.

  3. If the lamb won’t lead, it is a good idea to stop and give it a cuddle. Even going away for a while and trying it again later that day can help. Some children leave their lambs on a tether for a short time so it gets used to the gentle tug.

  4. It is not a good idea to drag the lamb. It will become frightened and won’t want to do anything on a lead.

  5. When the lamb likes walking around on the lead, set up a practice ring and lead the lamb around it

  6. Steer the lamb by moving the hand that is holding the lead.

  7. Make sure the extra lead is folded into your hand and NOT dangling on the ground

  8. If the lamb stops to go to the toilet that is OK. Just wait until it is finished then carry on. The judge will not mark you down for this. It is a natural thing for an animal to do.

What to bring on the AG DAY

  1. bucket

  2. lead

  3. milk bottle

  4. any food your lamb might need

  5. clothes for wiping mouth, bottom, hooves

  6. Tidy clothes. You need to look as tidy as the lamb (ideally NO gumboots)