Bryce and Bailey Gregory’s dedication and hard work pay off with quality show stock
Bryce, 12, and Bailey, 9, Gregory may be young but their dedication to producing top-quality show stock and compassion for animals is evident from the moment you meet them.
Son and daughter of Jared and Heidi Gregory, Ozark High School agriculture education teacher, Bryce and Bailey agree that they would like to be veterinarians someday because they love working with animals.
They have spent all of their lives on their grandma’s and parents’ farms so participating in farm work comes naturally to them as they share chores, taking care and loving on bottle calves, chicks, guinea fowl, barn cats and their two dogs, as well as investing hundreds of hours into their show animals.
“My favorite thing about farming is that I like animals. I like smart animals, like dogs. It always seems like they are thinking,” Cattle, he said, are his favorite livestock to raise. “I like watching them grow.”
They are both in their second season of showing cattle. Bailey said she loves farming because she likes all the fresh air, going out and working and being outside.
The Gregorys specialize in showing Boer goats in the market classes. Bryce said one of the most important things to look for when purchasing show stock is good bone structure because that’s not something you can change. He also said feeding is very important and they keep their goats on a very strict diet. He outlined his feeding schedule that consists of two feedings a day of about a pound each.
“We feed them at 6:30 in the morning and 6:30 at night, every day,” Bryce said.
Bailey added that there were three main things to look for when purchasing a show goat: “Good bone structure, their back feet to be straight and that they aren’t super skinny, but not fat.” She also said it is important to get information on the type and amount of feed from the seller, have clean fresh shavings and a pen with room for the goat to move around in but that they cannot get out of.
Bryce explained the desired bone structure in more detail.
“You want the rack to be square and the ribs to be round,” he said.
During show season, both work with their goats every night in their show barn. They alternate nights of brushing and exercising them on the treadmill to keep them at an optimum weight and looking their best. Although the local fairs do not have weight requirements, their wethers must weigh 50 pounds to be shown at the Arkansas State Fair.
“My Uncle Levi [Halmes] is our fitter,” Bryce said, explaining that fitting is when a goat’s hair is clipped and brushed to make the goat look it’s best at shows.
For the 2020 show season, Bryce raised a Charolais-cross heifer and Bailey, a purebred Brahman heifer, which they took to the North and South Franklin County Fairs. Brushing the cattle is an important part of their chores, to make the hair grow longer for the haired breeds and to keep short haired breeds slick and shiny. “I showed a Hereford last year,” she said. “She had to be brushed out because of her hair. Her name was Holly. I could ride on her she was so sweet.” She said that she hopes to try showing lambs next.
After show season, their does are sent back into the breeding program on their uncle’s neighboring farm and the wethers are sent to market.
Bailey said she plans on keeping this year’s heifer to start her own herd.
In previous years, the two have participated in the 4-H broiler chain.
“I have had exceptional luck with broilers,” Bryce said. I’ve been grand champion with my broilers at the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair in Fort Smith.
Although both said they could never eat their goats, Bryce didn’t hesitate when asked what happens to the chickens after the show.
“We eat ‘em,” he said with a grin. “And they taste good.”
He said raising broilers is a process, because they check the birds every few hours to make sure they are awake and eating and drinking.
In the summer, Bryce helps in the hayfield. His job, he said, depends on if they are round or square baling.
“I drive the truck when they are round baling; I am on the trailer trying to catch and stack when we are square baling.” Although Bailey doesn’t help with haying yet, she is still there with the family, riding in the truck.
Bryce and Bailey are members of the Franklin County Country Kids 4-H Club.