New resource available:

Poultry judging learning modules. $50 per disk or 3 disks for $115
Note: For PC only (no Mac version available)

Cover for poultry judging learning disks

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Judging is a tool used to develop 4-H club members. Participation in judging and other competitive events helps 4-H’ers learn to make and defend decisions and to speak in public. Poultry judging provides an excellent opportunity for 4-H’ers to learn about live birds and the basis of grade and quality of poultry products.

The material used in the development of the 4-H Poultry Judging event comes from the National 4-H Poultry Judging manual available from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (Publication 4H460). The cost is $6.95 each.

Contact info: Michael Riese, Extension Marketplace Coordinator, University of Nebraska - Extension. 211 Ag Hall, PO Box 830703, Lincoln, NE 68583-0703. Phone: 402-472-9053; Fax: 402-472-5557.; Email:


DATE and LOCATION of the state contest

Date: First Friday of the State Fair (i.e., Animal Science Day)
Time: Check in starts at 8 AM and the contest begins at 9 AM
Location: Cloverville, West Wing of State Fairgrounds
Awards will be presented at the end of the contest in Cloverville.

NOTE: Registration is completed by the County Agents through the state fair registration process

The top four senior judges will have the opportunity represent the state of Kentucky at the National 4-H Poultry Conference to be held the third Thursday of November in Louisville. To qualify to represent Kentucky in the national event, a 4-H’er must participate in the state event. An all-star team is selected to represent Kentucky in the national event. Selected participants are required to work with the state specialist to prepare for the national event.


Classes A and B: Egg Production and Reasons

Four hens per class will be judged for past production. The hen that has laid the most eggs to date should be placed first. Hens may be handled. If a participant checks more than one placing, the lowest score will be recorded. All participants will give oral reasons on Class B. Senior division participants will not be allowed to use notes during oral reasons. Junior participants may use notes; however, the notes are to be limited to the front side of the reason card provided.

Past production class

Classes C, D, and E: Ready-to-Cook Carcasses

There will be one class of broilers, one class of heavy broilers and one class of turkey hens. Each individual carcass is to be classified A, B or C, according to U.S.D.A. Standards for R-T-C Poultry. Carcasses are not to be handled. A six point deduction will be made for each grade line crossed.

RTC grading RTC grading - broilers

RTC grading of heavy broilers RTC turkeys

Classes F and G: Eggs, Exterior Quality

Two classes of 20 white shelled eggs are to be judged A, B or Dirty based on shape, shell texture and cleanliness. Eggs cannot be handled. Crossing the A-B line is a two point deduction and crossing B-dirty line is a three point deduction for a total of five points per egg.

Exterior egg grading Exterior egg grading

Classes H and I: Eggs, Interior Quality

Two classes of 20 white shelled eggs are to be candled and placed individually as U.S.D.A. grade AA, A, B or inedible. One point will be deducted for each grade separation crossed except B-inedible line which will be a three point deduction.

Note: Speed King candlers are used in the contest. They are available online at - The cost is $292.95

Class J: Eggs, Broken Out

One class of 20 eggs will be broken out and are to be classified AA, A, B or inedible. Eggs cannot be touched or handled. A three point deduction will be made for each grade separation line crossed except when the B-inedible line which is a three point deduction.

Broken out eggs

Class K is a class of ten (10) broiler parts

Each part is to be identified and the number of the part written in the appropriate square in the front of the part name. The 10 parts will be selected from the 17 listed in the National 4-H Poultry Judging Manual (4-H 92 University of Nebraska), section of Parts Identification as per descriptions in Regulations governing the Voluntary Grading of Poultry Products and Rabbit Products and U.S. Classes Standards and Grades (7 CFR 70) effective date May 1, 1987. Each part will be prominently displayed on a plate, and may NOT be touched or handled.

Parts ID Parts ID


Score cards for Kentucky Contest:


Kentucky 4-H poultry: Poultry judging contest (University of Kentucky)

Kentucky 4-H Poultry: Evaluating egg laying hens (University of Kentucky)

Kentucky 4-H Poultry: Grading ready-to-cook poultry (University of Kentucky)

Kentucky 4-H poultry: Grading eggs (University of Kentucky)


Life-Skill Development Found in 4-H Animal Judging

A study was conducted in Idaho to determine the impact of the 4-H animal judging program on the life skills of former participants and how judging influenced their lives. The results of the study show that the judging program has affected the development of animal industry knowledge and is at least moderately influential on the development of communication, decision-making, problem solving, self-discipline, self-motivation, teamwork, and organization. All these skills have been recognized as beneficial life skills associated with workforce preparedness. Over 97% of the judging alumni indicated that the Idaho 4-H judging experience positively influenced their personal success.

How do we know if our contests are 'fair'?

Adults are often forthright with their concerns about the fairness of contests. In the case study reported here, clients were upset about the Master Showmanship Contest and whether "goat members always win." I predicted that, in a fair contest, winning should be independent of project area and used empirical tests to show that it is. I also measured the perceptions of two additional groups of stakeholders in the contest: youth participants and judges. The results indicate that perceptions can differ drastically from actuality, which has ramifications for 4-H and all areas of Extension work that rely on client input.

Attributes of Indiana's 4-H Livestock Judging Program

This article describes the degree of influence Indiana's 4-H livestock judging program had on developing 10 life skills associated with workforce preparedness, profiles 185 alumni of the 4-H judging program, and documents the beneficial attributes of the judging program by listing qualitative responses from former 4-H livestock judges. The majority (>80%) of the respondents were college-educated men between the ages of 21 and 50. According to the alumni, Indiana's 4-H livestock judging program was highly influential in the development of the following skills: the ability to verbally defend a decision, livestock industry knowledge, oral communication, and decision making.

The Neglected Life Skill

Well developed writing skills are in high demand in the professional workplace, yet American students continue to struggle with this important life skill. While 4-H has an exceptional history of teaching oral communication skills, writing has become the neglected life skill. If 4-H is to help its members succeed in all areas of communication, writing must move beyond the realm of the record book and be given a more central role in program planning.