University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program

Animal Science

Animal Science is STEM

In animal science projects, 4-H members:

  • Learn about animals and their behavior, health, and reproduction.
  • Learn animal husbandry skills and share acquired knowledge with other 4-H members.
  • Show their animal science projects at county fairs and expositions.
  • Learn and practice leadership, public speaking, community service, and record-keeping skills.

Download PDF of this infographic (25.5" x 61.9")

Animal Science is STEM poster

4-H Animal Science Updates

Preparing for Fair

Animal science projects provide 4-H youth members an opportunity to “learn-by-doing” as they gain valuable experience with the fundamental husbandry practices that are necessary to raise animals for their defined purpose while maintaining optimum animal welfare. In the 4-H animal science program, this can be achieved with both market and non-market animal projects.

To learn more about the California 4-H guidelines and recommendations for preparing 4-H youth in livestock projects for the fair, check out the following. 

4-H Livestock Project Fair Guidelines for Leaders 2023

4-H Guidelines for Fair 4.2023


Proposition 12

Please see the FAQs about Prop 12 by the California Fair & Exhibitions Stakeholders, 2022.


Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship Update

 In California, effective January 1, 2018, over-the-counter injectable and medically-important antimicrobials must be administered with a prescription or veterinary feed directive (VDF) ordered by a California-licensed veterinarian under a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). 

Note that these changes are separate from the federal regulations regarding antimicrobials in feed and water that became effective on January 1, 2017 (see below). Regulation of the sale of dewormers, vaccines, and vitamins will not change. 

For more information, check out these links: 

NEW! Frequently Asked Questions

NEW! Outreach Materials



Veterinary Feeding Directives

As of January 1, 2017, all medically-important antibiotics for use in or on feed and in water requires a veterinary feed directive (VFD) or a prescription. This requirement affects many livestock producers, including 4-H members. Additional information and resources can be found at the links below:

FDA Veterinary Feeding Directives Overview Video

CDFA Safe Animal Education Program

Finding a Veterinarian in California (PPTX)


Bio-security in 4-H Animal Science

The UC Cooperative Extension personnel, in collaboration with scientists in the UC School of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Extension, developed the Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science curriculum. The Bio-Security Proficiencies Project teaches 4-H youth about animal health, disease transmission, risk analysis, risk reduction and disease prevention.

State Qualifiers for National Animal Science Events

Every year California 4-H is well represented by a variety of teams competing at national contests. In order to compete in national contests, 4-H youth must first qualify at a State Qualifying Event. Click here for a list of state qualifying events for National Contests. 

4-H Animal Science Projects

Check out our animal science project sheets here. Some Animal Science projects you might be interested in joining include:

Animal Science-stick
Birds: Consider joining a poultry, game bird, embryology, or exotic bird project.

Cattle: Raise a market (meat) or dairy (milk) animal. 

Cavies: Also known as guinea pigs, cavies come in many breeds and are easy to handle.

Guide Dog
Dog: This project teaches about dog care, handling, and training. The Guide Dog project allows 4-H members to assist in training service dogs.

Entomology: Learn about insects and much more in this increasingly popular hobby. Consider a beekeeping project!

Equine: Learn about horse care, training, and the many opportunities to compete in the 4-H equine program. You don't have to have a horse to join! Check out the Equine Education page.

Goats: Goats are raised for milk, meat, and fiber. Raise dairy or market goats in this project. Goats are fun, easy to handle, and a great project for those wanting to join a large animal project.

Livestock Judging: Learn to evaluate, select, and place livestock species. Compete at a state qualifier with your team - you could qualify to go to a national competition! Click here for more information: State Qualifiers for National Events.

Animal Science-Girl with bunny
Rabbits: This popular project is great if you have space limitations for keeping animals. Learn about health care, showmanship, and different breeds. 

Sheep: Learn about sheep breeds, wool, cuts of meat, and how to show your animal in this popular project. Select either a breeding or market project. 

Swine: Another popular project, learn how to care for and raise a market hog. Pigs are known to be intelligent, highly trainable animals - and they have personality!

Veterinary Science: Learn the basic practices of veterinary medicine as well as information on exotic, wildlife, and production animals.

The Animal Science Education Advisory Committee develops guidelines for 4-H animal science projects.


Animal Science-4-Her at Madera County Fair 05-07

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