Livestock


Here at Utah County 4-H we believe in providing the full 4-H experience to all youth. For the Livestock Programs that means youth have opportunities for mastery not only at Jr. Livestock Shows, but in overall animal knowledge and care, youth leadership, and career readiness.


For information on specific programs please see the menu to the left.  


 Program Overview:

Raising livestock is a big responsibility. It requires a large time and financial commitment. However, it is very rewarding and has the potential to teach youth participants important life skills such as responsibility, fiscal management, and sportsmanship. 

 In order to have the most positive experience, here are a few things to consider before getting started.

Selecting an animal that is the right fit for you is the first step to a successful Livestock Project. 

There are three main areas for Livestock Projects: 

     - Market Livestock
          Market Livestock Projects consist of raising meat breeds of cattle, sheep, goats, and hogs. Market livestock are raised and then shown and sold for human consumption at Junior Livestock Shows and Auctions. Market livestock are evaluated on industry standards and overall carcass merit. This type of Livestock Project also includes a showmanship portion where the youth and their project are evaluated on how well they work together. This is the most common type of Livestock Project.

     - Breeding Livestock 
          Breeding Livestock Projects consist of raising meat breeds of cattle, sheep, and goats and showing the females in Junior Livestock Shows. These livestock projects are evaluated on their breed and sex character. There is no auction for Breeding Livestock projects. Opportunities for shows vary. 


     - Dairy Projects
          Dairy Projects consist of raising and showing dairy breeds of goats and cattle. Projects are evaluated based on breed and industry standards. There is no auction for Dairy Livestock Projects. Opportunities for shows vary. Dairy Projects require extra            time and effort at home as animals must be milked 1 - 2 times per day for most of the year.













Once you have selected your project area, it is time to select your project. 

Here are some things to consider:

Market Steers:
  • Long Ownership Time: Youth must provide proof of ownership at least 100 days before the show. At this time they are considerably large (800+ lbs) so many people purchase their steers when they are younger to make halter breaking easier. This does however give you a long time to work with your animal to prepare for the show. 
  • Initial Cost: Cattle are the largest animals and cost the most (on average) to purchase. They also require the largest amount of feed for the longest amount of time. Cattle require specific equipment to prepare for the show such as clippers, a blower, a show stand, show stick, halter, etc. 
  • Auction Potential: Beef is a very popular meat which means youth are usually successful in selling their animal at auction. Auction prices vary from year to year but a good estimate is $1900. 
  • If your family has not raised cattle previously and it is your first year in a Livestock Project I do not recommend raising cattle. 


Market Lambs: 

  • Short Ownership Time: Youth must provide proof of ownership at least 60 days before the show. Many youth purchase their animals earlier to ensure they have enough time to properly train and practice. 
  • Initial Cost: Lambs on average cost $250 to purchase (varies). Basic equipment includes clippers, a blower, halter, and a sheep stand. 
  • Auction Potential: Lamb is not the most popular meat for human consumption in Utah however, there are ways it can be marketed. Many people are willing to donate money to "boost" a 4-H participants project without purchasing the animal which means youth are usually successful in selling their animal at auction. Auction prices vary from year to year but a good estimate is $350.
  • Lambs are a great project for first year youth as they require minimal equipment and space. They are also small enough that younger, smaller children are not as intimidated. 


Market Hogs: 

  • Short Ownership Time: Youth must provide proof of ownership at least 60 days before the show. Many youth purchase their animals earlier to ensure they have enough time to properly train and practice. 
  • Initial Cost: Hogs on average cost $250 to purchase (varies). Equipment includes clippers and a show stick. Hogs have specific housing requirements and the smell can make them less popular or prohibited in certain neighborhoods. 
  • Auction Potential: Pork is a very popular meat for human consumption which means youth are usually successful in selling their animal at auction. Auction prices vary from year to year but a good estimate is $500.
  • Hogs are a very fun project and have fun personalities. 


Market Goats: 

  • Short Ownership Time: Youth must provide proof of ownership at least 60 days before the show. Many youth purchase their animals earlier to ensure they have enough time to properly train and practice. 
  • Initial Cost: Goats on average cost $250 to purchase (Varies). Basic equipment includes clippers, a blower, halter or collar, and a show stand. 
  • Auction Potential: Goat is not the most popular meat for human consumption in Utah however, there are ways it can be marketed. Many people are also willing to donate money to "boost" a 4-H participants project without purchasing the animal which means youth are usually successful in selling their animal at auction. Auction prices vary from year to year but a good estimate is $350.
  • Goats are a great project for first year youth as they require minimal equipment and space. They are also small enough that younger, smaller children are not as intimidated. 


Breeding Animals: 

  • Breeding Livestock projects require a different time commitment than market projects do. This is because there is no auction for breeding projects. Most people who raise breeding animals have a full herd and have a lot of family involvement.
  • Shows vary in the opportunities offered for breeding projects however opportunities include: 
    • Rams (Intact Male Sheep)
    • Ewes (Female Sheep)
    • Heifers (Female Cattle)
    • Cows (Mature Female Cattle)
    • Bulls (Intact Male Cattle)
    • Does (Female Goats)
  • If you are considering a breeding project because you do not want to sell your animal for human consumption I would suggest considering a poultry, dog, or pet advocate project instead. 


Dairy Goats: 

  • Dairy goats require a different time commitment than market or breeding projects do. This is because there is no auction for dairy projects. There is also the time commitment associated with milking your animal 2 times a day. 
  • Dairy goats require special equipment such as a milk stand and a milking machine. 
  • There are opportunities for dairy goat shows in Utah however they are not as numerous as market livestock shows. 


Dairy Cows: 

  • Dairy cows require a different time commitment than market or breeding projects do. This is because there is no auction for dairy projects. There is also the time commitment associated with milking your animal 2 times a day. 
  • Dairy cows require special equipment such as a milk barn and a milking machine. 
  • There are opportunities for dairy cow shows in Utah however they are not as numerous as market livestock shows. 

Once you have selected your animal here are a few things to consider before purchasing: 

Common Breeds: For market shows there are certain breeds that grow better and are more standard than others. The list below is the most common breeds of market species in Utah. Species do not have to be registered to show. 
  • Market Goats:
    • Boer
  • Market Hogs: 
    • Hampshire
    • Yorkshire
    • Durroc
  • Market Lambs: 
    • Suffolk
    • Hampshire
    • Suffolk/Hampshire Cross
    • Dorset
  • Breeding Sheep:
    • Hampshire
    • Suffolk
    • Columbia (Wool)
    • Rambouillet (Wool)
  • Breeding Cattle:  
    • Angus or Angus Cross
    • Hereford or Hereford Cross
    • Simmental or Simmental Cross
    • Miniature Hereford
  • Market Steers: 
    • Club Calf
    • Angus or Angus Cross
    • Hereford or Hereford Cross
    • Simmental or Simmental Cross
  • Dairy Cattle: 
    • Holstein
    • Jersey
  • Dairy Goats: 
    • LaMancha
    • Nubian
    • Nigerian Dwarf


Average Daily Gain: When selecting a market animal it is important to pay close attention to average daily gains (ADG). This is the average amount of weight an animal on good feed will gain per day. All shows have minimum weight requirements however, the following calculations are based on "ideal" weights for each market species. 
  • Market Goats ADG is approximately 0.3 lbs. Minimum weight is 45 lbs (depending on the show) Ideal weight is 90 lbs (depending on the goat). If you purchase your goat 75 days before the show it would need to weigh approximately 67.5 lbs to finish around 90 lbs (ideal weight) and approximately 22.5 lbs to make minimum weight.  ((# of days until show X average daily gain) + purchase weight = Predicted Weight)
  • Market Hogs ADG is approximately 1.5 lbs. Minimum weight is 235. Ideal weight is 270 (depending on the hog). If you purchase your hog 75 days before the show it would need to weigh approximately 157.5 lbs to finish around 270 lbs (ideal weight) and approximately 122.5 lbs to make minimum weight. 
  • Market Lambs ADG is approximately 0.5 lbs. Minimum weight is 100 lbs (depending on the show). Ideal weight is 135 lbs (depending on the lamb). If you purchase your lamb 75 days before the show it would need to weigh approximately 62.5 lbs to meet minimum weight and 97.5 lbs for ideal weight. 
  • Market Steers ADG is approximately 2.5 lbs. Minimum weight is 1100 lbs. Ideal weight ranges from 1100 - 1300 lbs depending on the animal. If you purchase your steer 120 days before the show it would need to weigh approximately 800 lbs to make minimum weight. 

Age: All shows have age requirements for animals. There is also a standard for ideal finishing. That information is found below. 
  • Market Lambs cannot be over 12 months of age
  • Market Steers cannot be over 24 months of age 
  • Market Goats cannot be over 12 months of age
  • Hogs do not have a designated age however for weight purposes they should not be over 12 months of age. 

In order to participate in the Market Livestock projects youth must provide proof of ownership for their animal. This is done through a livestock tagging process. 

As a reminder, youth are responsible for making sure their animals are tagged by the deadline. 

Ownership deadlines are: 
  • Market Hogs: 60 days prior to the show
  • Market Lambs: 60 days prior to the show
  • Market Goats: 60 days prior to the show
  • Market Steers: 100 days prior to the show
Dairy and Breeding projects do not have a tagging requirement. 

For more information on the tagging process visit our TAGGING PAGE. (Link)


Youth Age Divisions: 

Utah 4-H Age Divisions are based on a child’s school grade.

  • *Cloverbud 4-H Members Kindergarten through 2nd Grade 
  • *Junior 4-H Members 3rd through 5th Grade
  • Intermediate 4-H Members 6th through 8th Grade
  • Senior 4-H Members 9th through 12th Grade 

Youth who are homeschooled will follow the Utah State Board of Education criteria for grade placement based on age and should enroll in the grade based upon the USBE criteria for their age as of September 1, 2020. 

  • *Cloverbud 4-H Members Ages 5 through 7
  • *Junior 4-H Members Ages 8 through 10 
  • Intermediate 4-H Members Ages 11 through 13
  • Senior 4-H Members Ages 14 through 18

*Youth MUST be age 8 AND in 3rd grade to participate in large animal, shooting sports, and ATV projects and activities. Youth turning 8 AND in 3rd grade may participate after their 8th birthday during the 4-H year. Please note that youth must turn 8 by the ownership deadline (100 days prior to the show for cattle, 60 days prior to the show for sheep, goats, and hogs) to participate in the horse and livestock program.


Click HERE to find a club near you. 


Need a reminder? 

Sign up for the Utah County 4-H Livestock text remind system by texting "@4hutstock to 224-207-8560.