4-H Youth Development

Animal Science

"There is an old expression that summarizes the philosophy of 4-H; we are raising blue-ribbon kids, not blue-ribbon animals."

The under-lining purpose of all 4-H project education (including animal science) is positive development of life skills and personal growth that benefit youth so that each 4-H club member will become a productive and contributing member of society.

Many youth have a natural interest in animals, and since a broad range of animal species are encompassed in animal science projects, animal science is the largest portion (41% or about 2.4 million youth) of the 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Program.

4-H animal science projects encompass many areas. Animals include horses, beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy goats, meat goats, llamas, sheep, swine, cavies, poultry, dogs, cats, and pocket pets (such as hamsters, gerbils, parakeets and many more species). Many other opportunities also exist for youth to participate in including animal judging (livestock, horse, dairy, poultry, etc.), animal products judging (meat, wool, egg, etc.), skillathons, quiz bowls, and presentations (public speaking and demonstrations on almost any topic pertaining to animal science).

The educational purpose of these projects is to teach youth how to feed, fit, care for and evaluate animals or animal products. However, the more important purpose is to provide an opportunity for personal growth and development. Regardless of the club member's preference, each project offers many similar opportunities that develop life skills in youth. 4-H always offers:

  • Fun and Exciting Experiences — the joy of making new friends through club meetings, county activities, state events and national programs
  • Challenges — the responsibility of caring for an animal and learning about production, management, nutrition, health, training, grooming, showing and ethics
  • Life Skills — the understanding of citizenship, leadership, self-respect, coping, decision making and caring for others that leads to a positive and productive life
  • Competition — the opportunity to exhibit an animal, demonstrate showmanship skills, present knowledge gained/learned, display sportsmanship and produce records of accomplishment

In 4-H, all of these aspects come together to form the foundation, ultimate purpose, or major goal of providing opportunities for young people to develop character. The Josephson Institute of Ethics has identified six "Pillars of Character" in its nationwide Character Counts! Program. These six core values (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship) better describe and link the value of 4-H animal science projects with the positive development and growth of life skills.


A brochure titled Nevada 4-H Animal Science Projects is available as a free download.

Nevada 4-H Animal Science Project Information

Materials and resources for the subjects listed below can be obtained by simply clicking on the respective name. It is important to note the information obtained may be from National 4-H or another State 4-H Program. Regardless of the source, it is applicable for Nevada 4-H.

2017 State 4-H Livestock Contest Registration Forms
Animal Care
Cattle (Beef)
Cattle (Dairy/Dairy Judging)
Cats & Dogs
Goats (Dairy & Meat)
Horses/Horse Judging
Pocket Pets
Poultry/Poultry Judging
Quality Assurance
Livestock Judging
Livestock Management/Skillathon
Meat Identification/Judging


Please contact your county Cooperative Extension office for more information.