Animal projects, events and contests

Youth in 4-H Animal Science projects learn and practice life skills, emphasizing decision-making, acquiring knowledge, and taking personal responsibility through participation in 4-H animals science opportunities such as project animal care, judging, and bowl events.

Youth develop competencies in animal science, including an understanding of animal sciences and animal management and an awareness of agricultural issues in society (e.g., concern for animal well-being and increasing public agricultural literacy.)

Youth have opportunities to learn about the parts of an animal, breeds, costs to raise animals, how to care for animals, and much more. Youth can learn about animals without owning one!

For more information about animal science, please contact Chris Anderson.

Animal Projects

Alpacas

In the alpaca, project members can learn about alpaca care, grooming, feeding, training, showing and judging alpacas.

Alpaca Project Publications:

The Ohio State University eStore, Llama and Alpacas Project Book, 37 pps, and Resource Book, 96pps.

Purdue University, 4-H Llamas and Alpacas Helper’s (Leader’s) Guide

Beef Cattle

In the beef project, members can explore the beef industry, learn about beef cattle breeds, identify signs of sick cattle, learn how to break, fit and show a calf, interview people in agriculture careers.

Beef Project Publications:

Beef 1: Bite into Beef

Beef 2: Here’s the Beef

Beef 3: Leading the Charge

Beef Helper’s Guide

Cats

In the cat, project members can learn about responsible cat care, identify the breeds of cats, identify cat behavior, understand the signs of a healthy and active cat, and explore careers in pet care.

Cat Project Publications:

Cat 1: Purr-fect Pals

Cat 2: Climbing Up!

Cat 3: Leaping Forward

Cat Helper’s Guide

Dairy Cattle

In the dairy cattle project members can explore the dairy industry, learn about breeds of dairy cattle, explore the milk production system, learn how to select, fit and show a calf, interview people in agriculture careers.

Dairy Cattle Project Publications:

Dairy 1: Cowabunga!

Dairy 2: Mooving Ahead

Dairy 3: Rising to the Top

Dairy Cattle Helper’s Guide

Dairy Goats

In the dairy goat project, members can explore the goat industry, learn goat management practices, learn to keep a goat herd healthy, learn to exhibit and judge dairy goats, learn how to develop a herd health calendar and learn about breeding systems.

Dairy Goats Project Publications:

Dairy Goat 1: Getting Your Goat

Dairy Goat 2: Stepping Out

Dairy Goat 3: Showing the Way

Dairy Goat Helper’s Guide

Dogs

In the dog project, members can learn how to groom, train and show their dog, find out about responsible dog care, identify the breeds of dogs and where they originated, choose the right dog for you, understand the signs of a healthy dog, and explore canine behavior.

Dog Project Publications:

Dog 1: Wiggles and Wags

Dog 2: Canine Connection

Dog 3: Leading the Pack

Dog Helper’s Guide

Horse and Pony

In the horse and pony project, members can learn about horses' breeds, understand horse health, nutrition, and grooming, understand breeding and genetics, learn about diseases and health care, design a horse health program and explore the financial side of showing horses.

Horse and Pony Project Publications:

Horse 1: Giddy Up & Go

Horse 2: Head, Heart & Hooves

Horse 3: Stable Relationships

Horse 4: Riding the Range

Horse 5: Jumping to New Heights

Horse Helper’s Guide

Meat Goats

In the meat goat project, members can explore the goat industry, learn goat management practices, learn to keep a goat herd healthy, learn to exhibit and judge meat goats, learn how to develop a herd health calendar and learn about breeding systems.

Meat Goats Project Publications:

Meat Goat 1: Just Browsing

Meat Goat 2: Get Growing with Meat Goats

Meat Goat 3: Meating the Future

Meat Goat Helper’s Guide

Animal Projects Continued

Poultry

In the poultry, project members can learn about breeds of poultry and poultry anatomy, examine the parts of a chicken egg and their function,  manage a small laying flock, learn about diseases and health care and select and show broilers.

Poultry Project Publications:

Poultry 1: Scratching the Surface

Poultry 2: Testing Your Wings

Poultry 3: Flocking Together

Poultry Helper’s Guide

Embryology Project Publications:

Embryology in the Classroom – Helpers Guide for Grades 6-8

Rabbits

In the rabbit project members can learn how to select a rabbit, explore the breeds of rabbits, learn how to care for a rabbit, build their own rabbit house, and promote the rabbit industry, and learn how to judge rabbits.

Rabbit Project Publications:

Rabbit 1: What’s Hoppening?

Rabbit 2: Making Tracks

Rabbit 3: All Ears

Rabbit Helper’s Guide

Sheep

In the sheep, project members can explore the sheep industry, learn sheep flock management practices, learn to keep a flock healthy, learn to exhibit and judge breeding and market sheep, learn about breeding systems and learn how to develop a herd health calendar.

Sheep Project Publications:

Sheep 1: Lambs, Rams and You

Sheep 2: Shear Delight

Sheep 3: Leading the Flock

Sheep Helper’s Guide

Small Pets

In the small pets project, members can identify hazards for pets, design a shelter or space for a pet, learn about a pet’s nutritional needs, learn to classify animals, care for newborn animals and explore careers in pet care

Small Pets Project Publications:

Pet 1: Pet Pals

Pet 2: Scurrying Ahead

Pet 3: Scaling the Heights

Pet Helper’s Guide

Swine

In the small pets project, members can identify hazards for pets, design a shelter or space for a pet, learn about a pet’s nutritional needs, learn to classify animals, care for newborn animals and explore careers in pet care

Small Pets Project Publications:

Pet 1: Pet Pals

Pet 2: Scurrying Ahead

Pet 3: Scaling the Heights

Pet Helper’s Guide

Veterinary Science

In veterinary science, project members can learn about different animal species, learn about body systems and organs, understand animal behaviors, explain roles animals have in society, learn about animal reproduction, explore animal health care careers.

Veterinary Science Project Publications:

Vet Science 1 From Airedales to Zebras

Vet Science 2 All Systems Go

Vet Science 3 On the Cutting Edge

Vet Science Helper’s Guide

Publication Ordering Information

2018 4-H Source Book

Mail to:  
National 4‑H Council
7100 Connecticut Ave.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-4999

Call:      301-961‑2934    Fax:  301-961‑2937

Email:   Hello@Shop4-H.org

Web:      https://shop4-h.org/collections/animal-agricultural-science-curriculum

Animal Science Events

There are a variety of events and activities related to the 4-H Animal Science projects. View the Calendar of Animal Science Events. Here is a listing of many events that are held at the Regional and State Levels.

General 4-H Animal Science Opportunities 

State Contest Information

Animal Science Resources

Animal Science Resources

Animal Science Program Guide Book

Welcome to the Animal Science Program Guide Book. The Maryland 4-H Animal Science Program Guidebook is a continually evolving collection of information sheets related to 4-H Animal Science projects, events, activities and programs.

Index of Topics

General Overview

4-H Membership Guidelines Related to Animal Projects

4-H Online Animal Husbandry and Quality Assurance (AH&QA) Program

Animal Ownership

Animal Leasing Programs

Animal Identification

Animal Care & Management 

Animal Science Projects Curriculum

Animal Science Project Records

4-H Animal Science Training Opportunities for Youth and Volunteers

Competitive Events:  Judging / Bowls / Skillathons / Hippology Contests

  • Art and Communications Contests

4-H Animal Fairs and Shows

Maryland 4-H Animal Science Advisory Boards

Ideas for New Guidebook Topics?

Livestock Skillathon Resources

Animal Science Resources for Volunteers

VOLUNTEERS: Do you want to keep up to date with MD 4-H Animal Science Program activities and events?

We have several e-mail lists established for volunteers affiliated with the 4-H Animal Science Programs. The list will be monitored to prevent unrelated viruses and emails from being distributed.

  • 4-H Horse Volunteers
  • 4-H Dog Volunteers
  • 4-H Poultry Volunteers
  • 4-H Livestock Volunteers

To join a list, email your request to Chris Anderson (link sends e-mail) with your name, county and email address.

Resource Documents

Animal Science Training Opportunities for Leaders

Exhibiting Animals at Fairs and Shows

Exhibiting a 4-H project animal at one of Maryland’s County Fairs or the State Fair is a highlight of the 4-H year for many members enrolled in 4-H Animal Science projects. Here is a checklist of items to help members make sure that the various 4-H and fair requirements are met so that they can show.

NOTE: Always check with your County Extension Office AND the Show Rules for each Fair you choose to exhibit at for specific rules and guidelines.

1. 4-H Membership:

Youth must be enrolled in the 4-H program and be a member in good standing with their county and club.

  • Enroll or Re-enroll as a 4-H Member - Check with your County Extension Office for 4-H Membership Enrollment deadlines.
  • Enroll in the Animal Project(s) of your choice – Check with your County Extension Office for 4-H Project Enrollment deadlines.
  • Maintain a membership of good standing within your 4-H County.
  • Maintain a membership of good standing within your 4-H Club.

2. Ownership, Weighing and Tagging:

4-H members must own (or lease) project animals by the required deadlines. Deadlines vary by species and type of exhibit animal. Ownership of some animals is verified at required Tagging and Weighing sessions held within each County. Some Counties and Fairs have deadline dates that are earlier than those required for the State – be sure to check with your County Extension Office.

3. Animal Registration:

4-H Members must register their project animals with the Maryland 4-H Program. Use the correct 4-H Registration form.

Most Fairs require Breed Association Papers for Market and Breeding Animals to show in their respective breed classes.

  • Breed Association Papers – Purebred animals are required to be registered in the name of the exhibiting 4-H member by the required ownership date to show in breed classes. Papers are required at Fair check-in. Contact your respective breed association for details.

4. Member Certifications:

4-H Members must sign an ethical behavior agreement and complete required training programs

5. Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Animal Health Requirements:

  • Maryland Animal Health Requirements for Health and Shows – Exhibitors must be in compliance with animal health requirements set forth by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
  • Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) – CVIs must be completed by a Maryland Accredited Veterinarian prior to an exhibition in all Maryland Fairs/Shows. A CVI is not required for Maryland equine.
  • Equine Infectious Anemia (Coggins) Testing: All equine for exhibition shall be accompanied by a valid Coggins Test done within 12 months prior to exhibition entry.
  • Self-Certification of Animal Health - Exhibitors must complete a Self-Certification of Animal Health before loading their animal for travel to any Fair/Show.

6. Fair Entry:

Each fair has its own set of governing rules and guidelines. It is important that you check with each fair that you plan to fully participate and read their rules.

  • Fair Entry Form – Exhibitors must enter their animals for each Fair/Show in accordance with its specific rules and guidelines by the entry deadline. NOTE: Fair Entry Forms are not the same thing as Maryland 4-H Registration Forms.

Animal Science Links

Maryland 4-H—Animal Science Links

University of Maryland—Animal Science Links

National Extension—Animal Science Links

State and Regional Fairs & Shows

  • Maryland State Fair
  • Eastern Shore Spring Show
  • Southern Region Spring Show
  • Western Maryland Spring Show
  • Wills Fair                

Maryland - Livestock Associations

Websites on Current Animal Science Topics

Healthy Animals | Healthy Youth Access Resources for Facilitators

The Healthy Animals | Healthy Youth resources form is a request for download for facilitators. To access the resources, please provide the following information about yourself. Once you submit the completed form, you will be directed to the resources download page.

Please note that your personal information will not be shared. It will be used solely to help the Healthy Animals | Healthy Youth team identify the use and implementation of the resources.

Which curriculum?
Name