While a typical teenager may be begging for a few more minutes of sleep, Webster Junior High student Abbie Guin is already hard at work with her animals.
The 13-year-old 4-H'er, who heads out the door toward her two pigs and dairy cow around 6 a.m. each school morning, admits raising livestock to show can be quite a surprise for the first timer.
"It is really fun but your first experience is something you don't really expect," Guin said. "Like they are really nasty but it is really fun."
Guin spends more than two hours each day taking care of her animals in the morning and after school.
This is her third year to raise pigs for the Webster Parish livestock show and, for her, calming down animals that she describes as "really, really crazy" has been an important accomplishment.
Along with the daily feeding, watering and washing of the pigs and cleaning their pens Guin must bond with the animals, which can be hard to do in the beginning.
"When you first get them, they don't like people touching them so you have to interact with them every day," she said.
Even though it takes a lot of her personal time, Guin enjoys the work involved with raising her animals.
"I really like animals and playing with them is fun," she said.
Experience has taught Guin in order to ensure the swine make their weight of 200 pounds, it is more beneficial to feed them in the evening.
"They eat a lot more whenever it's cooler," she said.
Normally, high temperatures such as recorded this year would pose a problem for her swine to make weight, but this year's addition of a misting water cooler has made the difference.
"We turned it on in the morning before we left and off when we got home," she said.
In order for a pig to sell, it must be calm and weigh at least 200 pounds, according to Guin.
What does Guin hope all her hours of hard work will produce?
"I want to win everything this year," she said. "That would be the market where they judge our confirmation, which is how wide they are and how built they are, and then showmanship, where they judge you and how well you can keep your pig under control and how calm your pig is."
When she is not working with Spatula and Skillet, the names she has given her pigs, she is taking care of her Jersey cow, Wendy. This will be Guin's second year to show the cow she bought from her grandfather because, she said, "He really wanted me to show dairy cows."
Guin, who maintains A's and B's at school and wants to be a veterinarian someday, also recently participated in the State 4-H & Southern Regional Championship Horse shows where she and her horse Booster captured the state title in showmanship.
The Webster Parish Fair will begin with a parade Tuesday, October 4 in downtown Minden at 5 p.m. The livestock weigh-in will also begin at that time.
Guin will show Spatula and Skillet Wednesday at 6 p.m. and her Jersey cow, Wendy, Thursday at 7 p.m.