COVID19 UPDATE (September 9, 2020): Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the 2020 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference has been suspended and we are not taking registrations at this time.

(Special Awards provided by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association)


  1. To develop youth and help them learn the techniques of logical, accurate decision making; to learn to recognize the reasons for their decisions, and to develop the ability to express their reasons orally.
  2. To help youth learn and understand standards used in poultry and egg production and marketing, and to apply the standards in a realistic decision-making situation.
  3. To serve as an award activity and trip for youth who have achieved superior levels of performance in-state competition and thus stimulate the learning process, interest, and enthusiasm.
  4. To help youth with career guidance.
  5. To promote the poultry industry.


  1. Each state is eligible to enter a team of four (4) bona fide 4-H members and/or one (1) independent individual in the contest.  The individual cannot compete on a state team once registered for the contest and is ineligible to compete in the contest again.  If a state has NO team they may enter up to two (2) individuals.
  2. Contestants need not be enrolled in poultry projects and are not required to have conducted a poultry project in the current year.
All classes will be set up in accordance with the Rules and Standards printed in the National Poultry Judging Manual “University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension 4-H 460" 2009 revised edition ($6.95 each).
National 4-H Poultry Judging Cover

The National Poultry Judging Manual can be purchased online from the UNL Extension Marketplace

Ordering questions can be referred to: 
Michael Riese 
Extension Marketplace Coordinator 
University of Nebraska - Extension 
211 Ag Hall, P.O. Box 830703 
Lincoln, NE 68583-0703
PH: (402) 472-9053 
FX: (402) 472-5557 

Possible resource:

Proper handling and holding a chicken (Penn State University)

  1. The contest will consist of the following three divisions:  Production, Market Poultry, and Market Eggs.  A perfect individual score in Production will be 500 points; in Market Poultry, 500 points; and in Market Eggs, 500 points; for a total of 1,500 points.  A perfect team score will be 4,500 points.
  2. The classes to be judged will be as listed in No. 25.
  3. Judging smocks will not be supplied to contestants. 
  4. Each contestant will receive an electronic scoring sheet to fill out during the contest. They will then enter their placings in laptops provided to allow for electronic scoring. Participants can practice entering their scores through the National Contest practice page for scoring poultry judging, using the token provided on the site - 
  5. Teams will be divided so that no two contestants from a state will be in the same group.  Each group will remain together throughout the contest.  Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
  6. Ten (10) minutes will be allowed for placing each class.  Also, a maximum of two (2) minutes will be allowed each contestant for giving oral reasons on Classes 2 and 4. Contestants will shift to the next class only upon notification by the contest monitor. The broken-out egg class will be judged at the end of the contest in groups assigned by the contest chairman.
  7. Competent judges will be responsible for the official placing of all classes.
  8. Qualified judges will listen to and score oral reasons on two production classes. Using notes while giving reasons will NOT be permitted.  NO state or name identification will be worn by the contestant in the oral reasons room.
  9. A competent committee will be in charge of grading the cards, announcing the results, and presenting the awards.
  10. Each class of production birds, R-T-C carcasses, and eggs will be graded on the basis of 100 points for a perfect score. Similarly, oral reasons for the production classes will be graded on the basis of 100 points for a perfect score.
  11. If a contestant checks more than one placing for any of the production classes, the lowest score will be the one recorded. If nothing is checked, the contestant will receive a zero (0) score.
  12. In scoring the market poultry classes, a five (5) point deduction will be made for each grade separation line crossed. Ten (10) points will be deducted if a contestant fails to enter a grade for a bird or if he/she enters more than one grade for a bird.
  13. In scoring the broken-out eggs, a three (3) point deduction will be made for each grade separation line crossed except when the line between "B" grade and "Inedible" is crossed; then, four (4) points will be deducted. Ten (10) points will be deducted if a contestant fails to enter a grade for an egg or if he/she enters more than one grade for the same egg.
  14. In scoring the candled market egg classes, one (1) point will be deducted for each grade separation line crossed except when the line between "B" grade and "Inedible" is crossed; then, three (3) points will be deducted. Five (5) points will be deducted if a contestant fails to enter a grade for an egg or if he/she enters more than one grade for the same egg.
  15. In scoring the exterior egg quality class, two (2) points will be deducted when the A and B grade separation line is crossed. When the line between "B" and "Dirty" is crossed, three (3) points will be deducted.  Five (5) points will be deducted if a contestant fails to enter a grade for an egg or if he/she enters more than one grade for the same egg.
  16. In scoring the Broiler Parts Identification Class, ten (10) points will be subtracted for each incorrect identification.  If a contestant identifies less than ten (10) parts, a total of ten (10) points will be deducted for each unidentified part.
  17. In each division, the three highest contestant's scores from each state team will be added to determine a team's divisional scores.  Then the team's overall score will be determined by adding its three divisional scores.
  18. In case tie scores occur, the ties will be broken by the following methods in the order listed.
    1. Ties in "production hen" and "overall categories" will be handled as follows:  1st) break the tie on the highest reasons scores; 2nd) break ties on the most perfect scores; 3rd) if ties can't be broken by the first two procedures, do not break the tie, and pay identical premiums, as advertised.
    2. For other categories, the contestant or team with the largest number of 100 scores will win; if even, the contestant or team with the largest number of the next highest score below 100 will win.  If necessary, this method will be continued in the order of descent of scores.  Or, a method will be decided upon by the contest committee.
  19. Appropriate awards will be made to the high individuals and teams in each division and overall judging.
  20. Team and individual placings will be announced and awards presented at an awards banquet Thursday evening.
  21. As soon after the contest as possible, a copy of the detailed scoring will be sent to each participating state for distribution to each team member, the coach, 4-H office, and Extension poultry personnel.
    1. Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 -- Egg Production and Reasons - 500 points

      Production ClassClasses 3 and 5 represent the Reasons portion of the contest, which is given on Classes 2 and 4, respectively.  Three classes of four (4) Leghorns or Leghorn type hybrids are to be judged on past production qualities.  Hens may be handled.  Contestants are not allowed to move or bend the hen’s pubic bones.  The contestant can touch and place your fingers on each side of the pubic bones.  But, you are not to try to move.  The flexibility of the pubic bone is no longer to be considered a factor in placing the class.  Contestants may NOT compare hens with others in their group. The hen that has laid the most eggs to date should be placed FIRST; the next highest, SECOND; the next THIRD; and poorest layer, FOURTH.  This is placing by comparison. Contestants will give oral reasons for Classes 2 and 4.  Using notes while giving reasons will NOT be permitted.  A maximum of two minutes will be allowed for giving reasons for each class.

    2. Classes 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 -- Meat Quality Ready-To-Cook Birds and Broiler Parts Identification - 500 points
      Ready to cook classThis group (Classes 6, 7, 8, and 9) include two classes of ten (10) ready-to-cook broilers, one class of ten (10) heavy fowl, and one class of ten (10) heavy turkey hens.  Each individual bird will be classified as A, B, or C.  Carcasses will be displayed in such a way that the entire carcass can be observed.  Birds may NOT be touched or handled.  Pinfeathers, diminutive feathers, hairs, and discoloration are to be disregarded.

      Class 10 is a class of ten (10) broiler parts.  Each part is to be identified and the number of the part written in the appropriate square in the front of the part name.  The 10 parts will be selected from the 17 parts listed in the National 4-H Poultry Judging Manual.  Each part will be prominently displayed on a plate, and may NOT be touched or handled.

    3. Classes 11 and 12 -- Market Eggs -- Candled - 200 points

      Two classes of 20 white shelled eggs, each is to be candled individually and classified AA, A, B, or Inedible.  The Speed-King Candler will be used for candling eggs.  Eggs MUST be handled.


    4. Classes 13 and 14 -- Exterior Egg Quality - 200 points

      Two classes of 20 white shelled eggs to be individually classified A, B, or Dirty.  Eggs CANNOT be handled.


    5. Class 15 -- Broken-Out Market Eggs -100 points

      Broken out egg
      One class of 10 eggs will be broken out on a flat surface.  Each egg is to be classified as AA, A, B, or Inedible.   
      Eggs and containers CANNOT be touched or handled.

       TOTAL PERFECT SCORE - 1,500 points 

  23. Scorecard for oral reasons on the Egg Production Classes in the Poultry Judging Contest.
    1. Appearance (general neatness) and delivery ---------------------------------------------- 24 points
      1. Did contestant standstill, on both feet, and face the judges?
      2. Did he/she speak clearly, distinctly, and loud enough to be heard?
      3. Did he/she have an appropriate opening and closing sentence?
      4. Did he/she speak smoothly and without long pauses?
      5. Did he/she have confidence; was he/she convincing?
    2. Proper use of terms ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20 points
      1. Did the contestant mention such factors as pigment, handling quality, abdominal capacity, molt, and so forth, or did he/she use terms that do not apply to judging egg production?
      2. Did he/she use the terms properly?
      3. Did he/she understand the terms used?
      4. Was he/she able to define the terms?  (The contestant may be asked to define some terms).
    3. Accuracy of statement --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20 points
      1. Did the contestant really see the birds?
      2. Were his/her statements true, partly true, or false?
    4. Completeness of coverage -------------------------------------------------------------------- 36 points
      1.  Did he/she actually tell why he/she placed one bird over another, or did he/she just vaguely describe the bird? ------------------------------------------------------------ (10)
      2. Did he/she stress the crucial differences, or did he/she make stereotype comparisons of numerous factors? ------------------------------------------------- (16)
      3. Did he/she tell all there was to tell of importance, or were there several other good reasons that should have been given for his/her placing?-------------------- (10)

      NOTE: The judges may ask the contestant to define one or two comparative terms.