Meat Goats are one of the top 5 most popular species of livestock on a global scale. The 4-H Meat Goat project is crafted for members who are interested in learning more about raising meat goats. The meat goat project has developed as one of the fastest growing livestock projects, with an increasing demand for meat products in the United States. Learn how to select, raise and care for a meat goat.

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Meat Goats

Spark Activity: Getting to Know your Goat

  1. Draw a family tree for your goat. Identify the dam, sire, granddames, grandsires, and any offspring.
  2. Describe or demonstrate three ways you could identify your project animal.
  3. In summer time, put on your swimsuit and have fun while washing your goat.
  4. Do a daily or weekly blog about what’s up with your goat project.
  5. Visit a local goat farm.
4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Identify the top 5 breeds of meat goats.
  • Learn the difference between a meat versus a dairy goat.
  • Know and be able to label the body parts of a goat.
  • Understand the nutritional needs of your goat, and how to feed them properly on a daily basis Identify and learn various equipment necessary in daily care and showing goats
  • Learn, develop and perform key care activities such as, vaccinations and hoof trimming.
  • Research major health concerns & how to prevent and treat them.
  • Identify major wholesale and retail goat meat.
  • Practice the proper showing styles.
  • Learn how to fit your goat for show
  • Design a breeding program for your goat herd.
  • Seek out and learn how to judge meat goats based on criteria for the market.
  • Explore various career opportunities involving meat goats
  • Research cultures that eat goat meat.
  • Identify and follow goat markets.
  • Develop a worming program for your flock
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills

  • Develop a medical kit for goats
  • Research goat meat markets
  • Learn proper feeding of goats
  • Gain knowledge about sound breeding, feeding, and management practices

Service and Leadership 

  • Hand out favorite goat recipes at your local grocery store
  • Volunteer to help at the county fair market goat weigh in
  • Invite other 4-H Members to tour your goat farm
  • Lead a meat goat selection and feeding clinic
  • Secure sponsorship for goat related awards


  • Sell locally various goat soaps at a farmer’s market.
  • Begin a local goat yoga class that focuses on movement.
  • Develop and promote a weed eating/grazing business for local parks and pastures.

Technology Connection 

  • Animal Identification (Various types) Animal management with record keeping
  • Reproductive Technology (pregnancy determination, embryo transfer, and controlled light manipulation of breeding season of does
  • Parasite Technology
  • Establishing a goat meat grading system
  • Pasture Management

Connecting with a Mentor

  • Illinois Meat Goat Association
  • Spend a day with a feed dealer or nutritionist
  • Spend a day with a veterinarian or goat producer


  • County 4-H workshops and shows
  • Illinois State Fair Livestock
  • Skill contest at the Illinois State Fair
  • 4-H Junior Livestock Contest
  • Illinois Junior Meat Association
  • American Junior Boer Goat Association / shows

Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

  • LEVEL 1: Just Browsing                                     
  • LEVEL 2: Growing with Meat Goats
  • LEVEL 3: Meating the Future     

Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store

View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

goats in pen
  • Veterinarian
  • Livestock judge
  • Farm manager
  • Ag education teacher
Start a Conversation
  • What is the history of goat domestication?
  • How is the price set for market goats?
  • Examine the registration papers of a registered goat. What are names the sire and dam?
  • What are the main parts of a goat’s body?
  • What factors should you look for when choosing kid goats for market projects?
  • What are the three main health problems goats can have?
  • How can you use your 4-H goat records to make decisions about how to manage your animals?

Illinois 4-H website - Goats

4-H Meat Goat Helper’s Guide

Penn State 4-H Meat Goat Project Guide

4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!