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The meat and dairy goat projects involves raising and caring for live animals while learning about animal health, nutrition, breeding, selection, and marketing. The 4-H goat project offers outstanding opportunities for individuals to gain experience in decision making, record keeping, responsibility, sportsmanship and leadership. They feature curriculum that will guide you through the projects. In Illinois, we have three levels of projects for both dairy goats and meat goats.

Be sure to check out the 2018 Livestock Age and Ownership Deadlines HERE.

Resources to help you learn

  • DAIRY GOAT LEVEL 1: Getting Your Goat In level 1, identify breeds of goats, learn to be a responsible goat owner, solve goat care problems, and prepare a goat for show.
  • DAIRY GOAT LEVEL 2: Stepping Out In level 2, learn goat management practices, learn about health management practices, track kid growth, exhibit goats, and judge goats.
  • DAIRY GOAT LEVEL 3: Showing the Way In level 3, organize a goat field day, develop a herd health calendar, learn about breeding systems, and evaluate a goat herd.  

The meat goat project involves raising and caring for live animals while learning about animal health, nutrition, breeding, selection, and marketing. 

  • MEAT GOAT LEVEL 1: Just Browsing In level 1, identify parts of a meat goat, identify goat breeds, learn about goat nutrition and health, and practice basic management skills.
  • MEAT GOAT LEVEL 2: Growing with Meat Goats In level 2, learn about meat goat diseases, work with a veterinarian, identify goat predators, and fit and show meat goats.
  • MEAT GOAT LEVEL 3: Meating the Future In level 3, host a judging clinic, investigate biosecurity, select breeding stock, and evaluate feed ingredients.
  • Dairy Goat Helper’s Guide: Publication # BU-08355 (2006)
  • Meat Goat Helper's Guide: Publication # BU-07912 (2003)

Required Training

All 4-H members enrolled in an animal project area are required to complete the online Quality Assurance and Ethics course one time in order to stay enrolled in an animal project area. The certification must be done if you are enrolled in one of the following projects: beef, dairy, cats, dogs, goats, horses, poultry, rabbits, sheep, and swine. Members who don’t complete the certification before the show will be removed from the project and not be allowed to show. Anyone who has already taken the certification does not need to retake the test. The local office has a list of those already certified. CLICK HERE to take the trainingThis rule applies to 4-H members who exhibit live animals AND poster exhibits.

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 2 entries total from 50135 and 1 entry from 50137.

50135    Animal Science: Prepare a display focusing on any activity related to the animal science project. Demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have gained through the animal project you studied.  The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period. Live animals are not permitted as exhibits in this area. For safety reasons, exhibits cannot include glass, syringes with needles or any other sharp objects.

50137    Animal Science Ready4Life Challenge: (Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Animal Science project)

Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.