Turkey Program

Weber County 4-H

The Turkey Program provides an opportunity for youth to experience the poultry production industry from start to finish.  At the end of the project the youth will have freshly processed turkeys just in time for Thanksgiving.

The UJTS (Utah Junior Turkey Show) is unique in that 4-H and FFA members raise their birds to market age just like other shows, but then the birds are processed in a state-inspected poultry processing plant, cooled in stainless steel tanks, and judged for quality and conformation. The top 30 toms and 30 hens from the judging and the heaviest tom and hen are then sold at the Utah State Junior Turkey Auction. Many of the remaining birds are often sold at participating county auctions. Youth are required to submit a 4-H or FFA record book on their turkey project and are eligible to compete for cash prizes and scholarships sponsored by the show. 

Check out this video from the Utah Jr. Turkey Show to give you an overview of the program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18qFeFnZds&t=3s 

The first step in the Turkey Project is ordering your turkey poults. Poults are baby turkeys. This is done by completing the online poult order form and submitting it, along with payment, on the UJTS (Utah Jr. Turkey Show) website: https://www.utahjrturkeyshow.com/


In order to be eligible to participate in the UJTS:

  • Youth needs to be an "active" member of 4-H for the current year. This can be done by registering on ZSuite: 4h.zsuite.org
    • If you do not already have a club you are participating in, you can sign up for the Poultry Club.
  • 4-H youth need to be at least 8 and in the 3rd grade as of September 1, 2023.
*Order Forms this year will be held for approval to ensure that you are either a registered 4-H or FFA member*

Participants are allowed to order a max of 15 poults. It is important to consider the following before ordering your poults:

  • How much space do you have? Your turkeys will get big (15lbs - 30lbs), when fed correctly, and will need a clean space that predators cannot get into.
  • Who are you going to sell them to? Each youth is responsible for selling their processed birds. They may show one tom and one hen in the Show. However, only the top 62 birds in the Show will qualify for the State Auction. It is important to think about your buyers because some buyers prefer smaller birds. Hens tend to mature smaller than toms. 

Please Note: all birds received as part of the UJTS must be processed at the poultry processing plant in Bothwell, UT in November. NO EXCEPTIONS! If birds are supplied by the UJTS to individuals who do not process their birds at the turkey plant in Bothwell, they will be on probation the following year. If the violation is repeated, they will not receive poults thereafter. Any exceptions must be approved by the UJTS Committee.

Rules for the show can be found online HERE.

The second step in the Turkey Project is picking up your poults.

Poults arrive near the end of July. Because we work with a transportation company, the exact time of poult arrival will not be known until the night before. Reminder emails will be sent from the 4-H Office. Please pay attention to your email leading up to poult pickup.

*We will not allow any school emails, as students do not have access to them over the summer break, and emails from USU tend to get filtered out and not delivered*

It is important that poults are picked up promptly from the 4-H Office and placed into your home brooder to set them up for optimal growth and development.

From July to November you will experience raising market turkeys. 

For more information on how to raise your turkeys check out this USU Publication.

All 4-H participants must complete and turn in a 4-H Portfolio in order to participate in the Utah Jr. Turkey Show and Auction. 

A 4-H Portfolio consists of a single page Cover Letter and a 1-2 page Resume detailing your 4-H experiences. 

The cover letter should address the following: 

  • Summarize your project for the current year and specifically outline the skills you have developed, knowledge you have gained, and goals you have achieved.
  • Describe your 4-H leadership experiences and how you have grown as a person.
  • Provide details on the impacts of your 4-H community service and how these experiences have affected your community.
  • Explain how your involvement in the Utah 4-H State Turkey Project has impacted your life and challenged you to grow and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
For more information on creating your 4-H Portfolio visit the State 4-H Website.

Before you can participate in the Utah Jr. Turkey Show (and complete your Turkey Project by processing your birds), you must submit your Processing Form.


This form is where participants designate if they will be participating in the Utah Junior Turkey State Show and Auction (and/or county), and how many birds they will be processing. It is important to remember that all birds ordered through the UJTS Program MUST be processed at the Bothwell Plant. This is MANDATORY and was an agreement you made when you ordered the poults.

For example: 

  • Participant #1 ordered 7 toms and 6 hens. One of their hens died early in the project. They would like to participate in the UJTS. This means they would select 1 tom and 1 hen for the UJTS and the other 6 toms and 4 hens for the extra processing day. 
  • Participant #2 ordered 10 hens. They do not wish to participate in the UJTS, so they select 10 hens for the extra processing day. 
Processing and registration forms, along with processing payment, must be submitted BEFORE you drop your birds off to be processed.

It is best if your sell your turkeys prior to the Utah Jr. Turkey Show. This can be done in a few ways. If you are stuck, here are a few ideas to help you get started: 

  • Pick a price per pound ($3.00 per pound is average).
  • Market them the right way. People love to purchase meat that was locally raised by 4-H members. 
  • Contact friends and family.
  • Post it on Facebook yard sale pages. That is a great way to reach a lot of people at one time. 
Other things to consider: 

  • It is best to give an estimated weight range when selling them to your customers. That way it provides you with flexibility after they are processed. 
  • Carefully weigh your birds prior to processing, as they will bruise easily. This gives you an idea of what size the birds will be, which is helpful information for your customers. 
    • Remember: estimated dressing weight is 70%-80% of live weight. This means if your bird weighs 25lbs live, they will weigh 17.5lbs - 20lbs after processing.

*Be sure to provide a "Thank You" note to anyone who purchases your bird at the auction*

The Utah Jr. Turkey Show and Auction usually takes place 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving. The following timeline is very important, as it is the participants responsibility to transport their birds to and from the facility.


The facility is located in Bothwell, UT which is approximately 1 hour from Ogden. 

Wednesday (the day before the Show): 
  • The day before your show birds (1 tom and 1 hen per participant) go to the Show, they must be tagged. Participants will receive an email with tagging details from the 4-H Office. 
  • Once birds are tagged, participants must fill out the Google Form with destination location and bird information.
  • To help make processing cleaner, please withhold feed from the birds the night before/morning of processing.
Thursday (Show Day 1 - Processing): 
  • Show birds must be delivered to the Bothwell Plant by the participant (7:00am delivery).
  • Birds are processed this day by the Show Committee.
Friday (Show Day 2 - Judging): 
  • Show birds are judged. 
  • If your bird is one of the top 62 birds, and has qualified for the Auction, you will be notified by the Show Committee. 
Saturday (Show Day 3 - Auction/Bird Pickup): 
  • If participants birds have qualified for the Auction, they must be present in order to participate. 
  • If your birds did not qualify for the Auction, youth must pick up their birds from the facility that day.
  • Participants must wear 4-H Livestock Dress for the auction:
    • A long or short sleeve shirt, which fastens down the front with a collar, is mandatory. Shirts must be solid white in color and do not need to be western style.
    • There needs to be a 4-H emblem or patch on all 4-H member shirts (patches can be purchased at the 4-H office for $3.00).
    • Black or blue pants are to be worn.
  • The top 62 birds are auctioned in the following order
    • 1st: Grand Champion Tom and Hen
    • 2nd: Heaviest Tom and Hen
    • 3rd: Reserve Champion Tom and Hen
    • 4th: First Place Tom and Hen
    • Thereafter, the next 27 show toms and 27 show hens will be auctioned in order of their respective placings.

The following week:
(Processing days will be shared with counties once we know how many birds need to be processed the following week)

  • All other birds must be delivered to the Bothwell Plant by the participant (7:00am - 9:00am delivery).
  • Participants are expected to stay and take part in the process. 
    • Duties include plucking, weighing, bagging, tagging, etc. 
Note: it is important to ensure you have the necessary equipment to transport your birds (tarps, coolers, etc.) to keep them at the optimal temperature.

The day following YOUR county's processing day: 
  • Participants must pick up their processed birds from the Bothwell Plant. 
  • Birds will not be released the same day as processing due to USDA guidelines and cooling requirements. Birds must be picked up between 8:00am and 10:00am the next day to make room for the next counties birds.

Note: Many people schedule customer drop off the day they bring their birds home from the processing plant to ensure they have freezer space available.