4-H livestock projects provide great opportunities for youth to learn about animal and veterinary science, as well as animal production practices while gaining valuable life skills such as responsibility and record-keeping.

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Think you have to live on or near a farm to work with animals in 4-H?

Lots of people think 4-H is all about living on a farm and raising a cow or a pig, taking it to fair, winning a blue ribbon and maybe selling the animal to earn money for college. For some youth, that's true, although there's a lot more to it than that!

But thousands of kids in 4-H work with animals and have never set foot on a farm. They're working with dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, birds, fish, snakes, turtles—you name it. Not only do you get to be with animals that make great companions, you'll understand them so much better when you learn about what to feed them, how to train them and how to enhance their environment. By the way, all of those things? That's why it's called animal science!

Caring for an animal is a big deal, so you'll definitely learn to be responsible. If you could use a boost in confidence and want to get better at communicating, working with an animal could be right up your alley. And there's nothing like working with an animal to help you feel connected to another living being.

It can be fantastic, but it can also be hard. Seeing an animal being born is like....wow! Losing an animal friend could hurt, though. It's all part of life, and working with animals let's you learn to cope with all kinds of experiences.


For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:

  • Nick Babcock – 4-H Livestock and Veterinary Science Extension Educator
  • Melissa Elischer – 4-H Dairy Cattle Extension Educator
  • Taylor Fabus – 4-H Horse and Pony Extension Educator
  • Nikki Hersh – Shiawassee County 4-H Program Coordinator and 4-H Dog Project contact person
  • Tarin Minkel – Montcalm County 4-H Program Coordinator and 4-H Embryology  Project contact person
  • Dr. Christine Skelly – Proud Equestrian Project (PEP) contact person 
  • Jacob Stieg – Osceola County 4-H Program Coordinate and 4-H Poultry Project contact person
  • Glenda Weiss – Ingham County 4-H Program Coordinator and 4-H Rabbit & Cavy contact person

Upcoming Department of Animal Science events