Farm animals as pets may be a new experience to your family, but children have been involved in animal husbandry through 4-H Clubs for decades. 4-H is a national youth development organization that provides opportunities for nontraditional education for youth from kindergarten through age 19.
The more than two dozen 4-H clubs in Ventura County have been organized to teach children and teens the 4-H ideals of head, heart, hands and health.
The 4-H Rabbit Program teaches care, feeding and management of rabbits raised for pets, market, fur, showing or breeding. Members learn about the care and management of birds raised for pets, egg production, meat, for home use or market, or for breeding or showing.
Nancy Sperry is leader of the Veterinary Science Project of the Miramonte 4-H Club in the Ojai Valley. With more than 100 members, the club is the largest in the county. "We are not teachers, but leaders, encouraging and supporting as the members learn about animals," said Sperry. "We have had veterinarians speak at our meetings, we study and discuss comparative animal anatomy, and learn how to raise healthy animals."