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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > Projects > Animal Science

Animal Science

If you love animals, these are the projects for you! Animal Science projects guide youth in learning about raising, feeding, caring for, judging, training and showing animals. You can also explore careers working with animals. Don't have your own animal? You can still do several animal projects or even lease an animal for some projects.

Girl showing her sheep

Science of Agriculture

Develop science-based responses to agriculture-related issues identified in your communities.

Exploring Animals

Youth in grades K-3 are guided by helpful adults as they learn the basics in any of the animal science project areas. No animal ownership required.


Learn how to train and show your own dog, discover the world of service dogs and therapy dogs, or explore canine behavior.


Learn about show, trail or endurance riding. Test your horse sense at quiz bowls or judging teams, or learn about horse science.


Explore the beef industry. Learn about breeds, health, feed, behavior, judging and showing a calf, ethical issues, and more.


Learn about rabbit breeds, health, handling, showing, marketing and careers.

Meat Goat

Learn about goat health, feeding, breeding, management, genetics, industry issues and showing.


Learn about the sheep industry, including sheep care, health, feeding, raising, showing, marketing and careers.

Veterinary Science

Learn about preventing disease and improving the health of animals. This could be the start of a career as a vet!


Learn how to keep your cat safe, healthy, and active.


Explore small pets such as guinea pigs, iguanas, snakes or frogs. Learn what they eat, how they play and how they stay healthy.


If you find that no single project is quite right for you, you can develop your own project. Be your own researcher, scientist, artist, communicator, and evaluator. Ask your local 4-H leader or Extension staff for resources to help create your own project area.


Explore the dairy industry, from raising a cow to dairy science and ethics to manufacturing and marketing dairy products.


Explore the poultry industry. Learn about species and breeds, eggs, feather features, health, feeding and more.

Dairy Goat

Learn about goat health, feeding, breeding, management, genetics, industry issues and showing.


Learn about llama and alpaca care, grooming, feeding, training, showing, judging and careers.


Explore the swine industry, including breeding, health, feeding, showing, marketing and careers.


4-H Cloverbuds explore and learn about the world in a non-competitive environment by doing fun activities with the guidance of parents or other adult helpers.

State & regional events

To view county or local club events, visit the county website.

View all 4-H events

Livestock Quality Assurance Training

All youth participating as a State Fair 4-H livestock exhibitor in beef, dairy, sheep, swine, poultry, rabbits, meat goat, dairy goat, and lama must have completed a livestock quality assurance training in which there are two training options 1) a 3 hour in-person workshop (LQA&E), or 2) a 1 hour on-line training (YQCA).  Youth completing either quality assurance training option will receive a certificate of completion.

4-H Regional & State Project Bowls

Project Bowls are an exciting way for youth to explore a project area. Teams compete in quiz competitions with questions about specific project areas. Project Bowls are available for Dairy, Dog, General Livestock (Beef, Sheep & Swine), Horse, Poultry, Rabbit and Wildlife projects. Winners of the Regional Bowls advance to the State Bowl.

4-H Animal judging contests

Effectively evaluating breeding and market animals is highly important in the animal industry. Judging is an art developed through patient study and long practice. 4-Hers interested in Dairy, General Livestock (Beef, Sheep & Swine), Horses, Poultry, and Rabbits can learn to be a good judge by knowing the parts of the animal and their location, which parts are most important for meat and breeding stock production, making keen observations and comparing to the ideal, weighing the good and bad points of each animal, and much more.

Minnesota State Fair

4-H plays a pivotal role in youth development and public education at the Minnesota State Fair. Over 7,000 4-H youth have the opportunity to interact with the public and educate fairgoers through 4-H exhibits, demonstrations, performances, and 4-H promotion.

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