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4-H Livestock Judging: a 4-H Animal Science Project

Chad Carr, Justin Crosswhite, and Amanda Johnson

An Animal Science Curriculum for 11-18 year olds



The Florida 4-H Livestock Judging Curriculum (4H ASJ 20), a part of the OUR LIVING WORLD curriculum framework, includes the basic premise that judging actvities provide youth with an excellent opportunity to develop communication, decision making and organizational skills, and enhance their confidence and self esteem. The 4-H Animal Science program provides an opportunity for young people to practice a variety of life skills while learning subject matter.

In EDIS the DLN is 4H101.

Visit the 4-H Youth Development programs website for more information on related project materials.

Click here to download the complete project pdf (142 pp. 7.5 MB)


Leader's Guide

This curriculum contains a complete, easy-to-read outline for activities which are a mix of games, experiments, role plays or demonstrations that help to teach the basic principles and concepts of livestock judging. The activities conclude with discussion questions for youth to REFLECT and APPLY.

Activity 1: Parts is Parts

All animal body parts have a specific function and are necessary for daily survival. Adequate knowledge of parts is essential for evaluation of livestock and partcipation in the livestock industry. This actvity introduces youth to this vital first step informatoin for livestock judging.

Activity 2: Different Strokes

Like humans, all animals have a genetic make-up. In livestock, it is easy to categorize groups based on their breed and sex characteristics. It is important to be able to recognize and distinguish between the types, breeds, and sexes, and be able to discern ideal type within each breed. This is the next step involved in the livestock judging process and this activity helps youth identify these essential characteristics.

Activity 3: The Bottom Line

This activity introduces youth to the livestock industry and allows them to become comfortable with the ever-changing demands placed on producers. It assists with the idea that producers must have goals for production that equate with economic gain or loss. The industry in which animals are expected to perform has the greatest impact on the selection of desirable characteristics.

Activity 4: What You See Is What You Get!

The process of visual appraisal and selection involves the weighing of good and bad points of the individual animal. This actvity introduces this concept and relays that the emphasis which is placed on each characteristic in visual selection depends on species, breed, sex, age and use.

Activity 5: Express Yourself

Common terminology is an important consideration when communicating with others in the livestock industry. This activity introduces the basic vocabulary, meanings and the synonyms that will be crucial to understanding and relating to industry demands and for oral reasons.

Activity 6: Judging a Class

Evaluating an entire class of animals is much easier when you have a plan. This activity builds upon the skills developed and knowledge gained in the previous activites. It solidifies specific concepts which are an essential part of livestock judging.

Activity 7: How Do I Rate?

Performance data is ofen confusing to livestock judging members who do not understand its purpose and use in placing a class. This activity provides an explanation and rationale for performance data and offers sample scenarios that youth might see in a contest.

Activity 8: What's My Line?

Communication is a key to the future. Being able to express yourself, beliefs, goals and opinions is a skill that will have great impact on career goals. This activity enhances communication skills and builds on them for lifelong use.

Activity 9: What's Your Score?

This activity explains the basic scoring system used in most livestock judging events. It involves the use of cuts from a perfect score of 50.

Supplemental Online Resources

Cyber Livestock: Utah State University Cooperative Extension

Judging Classes: CSU Livestock Extension/Outreach

CEV Multimedia: Livestock Judging: Classes, Critiques & Reasons | DVD Lesson Preview

The Judging


Publication #4H ASJ 20

Release Date:July 18, 2018

Reviewed At:October 15, 2021

Related Experts

Carr, Chad


University of Florida


About this Publication

This document is 4H ASJ 20, (formerly 4H AJL 20), one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1996. Revised January 2012. Visit the EDIS website at

About the Authors

This edition of the Livestock Judging curriculum package was created by Chad Carr, assistant professor, Justin Crosswhite, graduate assistant, and Amanda Johnson, undergraduate assistant, Department of Animal Sciences. Authors of previous editions include: Julie Sexton and Karen Strickland, former project assistants, Allen Stateler, former graduate assistant; Saundra TenBroeck, associate professor and youth livestock Extension specialist, Tim Marshall, associate professor, Department of Animal Sciences; and Deborah J. Glauer, Extension youth development specialist and animal science design team leader, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.


  • Christopher DeCubellis
  • Charles Carr
  • Sarah Hensley