Need 4H project help.


11 Years
May 1, 2009
Mason WV
I know nothing about showing chickens but my son wants to do them as a 4H project. Can anyone help me from start to finish. How long does it take to get a show bird & how do I go about it. What is the prep work for the show, what am I looking for, & what will the be needed at the show. I don't even know enough about it to ask the right questions.

I'm hopeful someone can take me under there wing so to speak & teach me so I can teach my son.

Maybe point me in the right direction.
What breeds are you looking for? That would be a good place to start. My suggestion, if they are going to be his pets/project, he would need to have input on the chosen breed.
There's tons of 4-H stuff on the web.

Google. Read. Repeat.
Normally when I do a goggle with the word chicken it just comes back to BYC & I tried to do a search on here but I keep getting a error.

Is there normally a preference in breads? He loves all chickens but I would rather stay away from the game line. I've been around some that had little fear to grown men not along kids.
First thing I would do if your going to be showing 4-h or open class is to get a
American Standard of Perfection book ( ether black and white or color ) that way you know what breeds are recognised and what breeds are not.. Then I whould have your son go through it and look for breeds he might like to breed.. That should get you started..

My daughter just finished this year's 4-H chicken project last week-end with three blues and reserve showmanship ribbon. She used a blue Orpington but not sure if that would be okay, we are in a very small area. I know for our group you have to have the chicken in your possession for at least 4 months before the fair and the judge's biggest complaint was that since she is a little girl, she is 9, but small he thought the Orpington was too big for her to hold on her hand properly. Sort of upset me since her chicken was the best behaved there and just sat on its mat the whole time. For the fair, she had to have a long sleeve show shirt, the goodwill is a great place to find these. We bath the chicken three times before the fair and worked on the record book. It is a very easy animal project.
Check out this book. Your Chickens: A kids guide to showing and raising chickens . It might help. Then like Chris09 said, you need to get either and American Poultry Association or American Bantam Association Standard of perfection. In these books you will find all of the recognized breeds and color varieties. You will also find the standard of the chicken of your son has chosen. This is the information your son will need to select for in order to compete. After you have decided on a breed I would locate the best breeder you can find and get the best pair or trio that breeder is willing to sell. It might cost a bit to have them shipped in if you do not live close to a breeder but your son will have a great time hatching and raising from them once they arrive. I am new to all of this as well but it has been fun learning all of the ins and outs of showing. I hope to compete for the first time in the spring.

Good Luck
Look through the Henderson's Breed Chart and narrow down the choices. Then go to feathersite to look at photos and see which ones continue to appeal. If there is a breed club, go to their website and continue gathering information.

There are a lot of good choices, but much of what makes a breed a good choice is a close match to the characteristics that appeal to you and your son.

I will advise to spend enough to get quality birds who are well representative of the breed. It is just as easy to fall in love with a quality bird as one who really doesn't make the cut for exhibition, and it costs the same to raise them. Many breeders will sell to kids at lower costs than to adults.
There is a you tube video on 4-H chicken showmanship( type in those words) a young girl goes step by step how to show your chickens. It worked like a charm with my daughter she won showmanship in her first year.
Our chicken didn't meet the standards, but she at least got a blue even with a molt going on. My daughter will be looking for bird(s) that better meet the standards at a breeders. The fair poultry superintendent gave us a list of breeders.
Good luck with the birds!
That's what your 4-H group is all about, they teach you and your son all that during the year, building up to the fair as the Grand Finale.
If you haven't spoken to anyone in 4-H yet, contact your agriculture extension office and they will point you in the right direction with 4-H for your area..

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