University of Maryland Extension

Animal Science Program

Frederick County 4-H has a rich history of excellence in the Animal Sciences Core Subject Area.  Our 4-H Members learn from knowledgeable faculty and experienced volunteers, many of whom grew up in Frederick County 4-H.


Youth in Animal Sciences projects:

  • Learn and practice life skills with an emphasis on decision making, acquiring knowledge and taking personal responsibility through participation in 4-H animal science opportunities such as project animal care, judging and bowl events.
  • Develop competencies in animal science, including an understanding of animal sciences and animal management as well as an awareness of agricultural issues in society (e.g. a concern for animal well being and increasing public agricultural literacy.)
  • Learn about the parts of an animal, breeds, costs to raise animals and how to care for animals.
  • Skillathon:
    For youth ages 5 - 13
    For youth ages 14 - 18

Opportunities for non-animal owners exist:

There are state-wide leasing programs established for Horse and Pony and Dairy Cattle. Other leasing and grant programs exist in county llama, goat and sheep 4-H projects. Check with your county extension office for additional information. Many 4-H activities do not require the ownership of animals for participation.

Individuals owning animals:

There are projects involving the raising of market animals, breeding animals and often companion animals. In many cases, the project animal need not be purebred and/or registered.

Companion & Small Animal Projects:

Encourages the development of life skills while learning about animals. Each guide includes a separate achievement program and 14 activities to promote active learning and interaction with other youth, adult helpers, family members and members of the community. Leader guides are an excellent resource for older youth, teachers and project leaders. You do not need an animal to participate in these self-directed learning activity projects. Levels are age and skill appropriate for juniors, intermediates and seniors.


 Program areas include

Companion and Small AnimalsLivestock
AlpacasBeef Cattle
CatsDairy Cattle
DogsDairy Steer
RabbitsHorses and Ponies
Small PetsMeat Goats
Veterinary ScienceSwine

Quality Assurance

Teaches youth how to gain consumer confidence, encourages ethical production of wholesome products and Teaches youth recommended animal production practices.  

The Maryland and West Virginia 4-H and FFA Animal Husbandry & Quality Assurance (AH&QA) Program is an on-line training program which enables youth to fulfill the Quality Assurance training requirement via internet from their home, school or local library. This program is offered to help youth who participate in 4-H and FFA animal projects in Maryland and West Virginia learn about the importance of caring for, grooming and showing their animals in safe and ethical ways. The program has two levels based on the member’s age as of January 1, 2016; a Junior Level is presented for members who are ages 8-10 and an Intermediate/Senior Level is presented for members who are ages 11-18.

All 4-H members enrolled in alpacas, beef, dairy, goats, horse and pony, llamas, poultry and/or egg production, sheep, swine and rabbits are required complete the training to be eligible to exhibit their project animals in Maryland County 4-H and State 4-H Shows.

4-Hers are required to complete the on-line training program when they reach each 4-H age division (Juniors (ages 8-10), Intermediates (ages 11-13), Seniors (ages 14-18) – all as of January 1 of the current year) OR when as Intermediates and Seniors, they are new to an animal science project listed above. Thus, each time a member enters a new age division, they will be required to complete the training PLUS if an Intermediate or Senior 4-H member chooses to show a new species since last completing the program within an age division they must return to program and complete the program for the new species area.

There are two different Levels to the program. Members will be automatically taken to the appropriate Level according to the birthdate entered on the registration screen:

• Junior AH&QA Level: There is one part to the Junior Level. There is no species specific information sections as with the Intermediate/Senior Level of the program.

• Intermediate and Senior AH&QA Level: There are two parts to the Intermediate/Senior Level. Part 1 is completed by all intermediate and senior members. Part 2 contains specific information for each animal species - members will need to complete Part 2 of the program for each species project they are enrolled in and wish to exhibit.

The website to complete the AH/QA is and is generally open April-July.  For more information please read the current AH/QA Guidelines to understand how to login, take the test and print your certificate as proof of completion.  Please be sure that you are NOT logged in as a guest or your name will not show up on the roster.  You should see your name on the upper right hand corner of the webpage, if you see 'Guest' you are not logged in correctly.

Some comments about the program:

  • The system is not compatible with Internet Explorer, please use another web browser like Chrome or Firefox.
  • If you leave the system and come back to it later it should take you back to where you left off when you log back in using your passcode.
  • When you print your certificate it will print out in 'real time' so if you complete the AHQA and then come back later to print your certificate, your certificate will show the current date.
  • If you login and re-take the test then the system will overwrite your previous completion date.
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