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Sheep and Goats

4h junior sheep show

Goat Project goat

One of the fastest growing 4-H programs is the Goat Project. This project area gives a youth the option to choose from dairy goat breeds or meat goat breeds. Goats are fun because they all have different personalities and different little habits that can be amusing or interesting. Goats are very affectionate and do not require a lot of space to raise them.

Worldwide, more people drink the milk of goats than the milk of any other single species. The contribution of dairy goats to the nutritional and economic well-being of mankind, especially in developing countries, is invaluable. Goats were among the first animals domesticated by man. Some of the meat goat breeds include the Pygmy goats and the Boer goats. 

Youth have the opportunity to show their goats at various 4-H fairs throughout Massachusetts. In September, the Big E 4-H Goat Show is held at the Eastern States Exposition. This show gives youth the opportunity to meet and compete with youth from throughout the New England states. All goats exhibited in 4-H shows must be owned, registered and cared for by the exhibitor by June 1st of the current year.

For further information on joining a goat club, please see below for staff contact information.

Sheep Project

The purpose of the 4-H Sheep project is to stimulate interest and a sense of responsibility in youth. There are numerous options available to youth just beginning in this project area.  The Market Lamb Project gives a youth an opportunity to receive a lamb through a special scholarship sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Sheep Breeders Association (PVSBA). Once a youth completes a Market Lamb Project, he or she can apply the following year for the Purebred Ewe Lamb Scholarship, which is also made available through the PVSBA.

4-H sheep shows have classes in fitting and showmanship, market lamb classes, as well as breed type competition. The purpose of the 4-H sheep show is to give the members a chance to compete with their sheep and to show how much they have learned over the course of the year. All sheep exhibited in 4-H shows must be owned, registered and cared for by the exhibitor by June 1st of the current year.

For the youth who enjoy participating in team competitions, there is Sheep Quiz Bowl, which tests youth on their general knowledge of the sheep industry. Livestock judging tests the youths' skills on knowledge of conformation of various livestock (sheep, swine and beef cattle). 4-H livestock judging contests are held at the Eastern States Exposition and the national 4-H contest is held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Goat and Sheep Resources:

        2022 Goat Academyyouth holding a sheep

        2022 MA Animal Health Fair Rules

        2022 NE Fairs & Show Health Rules

Harry Hardwick Scholarship and New England Youth Scholarship offered by the New England Sheep & Wool Growers Association

P.V.S.B.A. 4-H Market Lamb Project

New England Caprine Resource

American Dairy Goat Association

Practice Dairy Goat Judging Contest

Official Placings on Goat Judging Contest

Fitting the Show Sheep

Holmes Award

Measures to Prevent Diseases Associated with Animals in Public Settings

Affiliate Sheep Breed Associations

Goat - Glossary of Terms

Sheep - Glossary of Terms


The Livestock Verification Form for Sheep, Goats and Alpacas must be filed with your local 4-H office by June 1.

MA 4-H Verification Form

This 4-H Livestock Verification Form is the form that MUST BE FILED WITH YOUR 4-H OFFICE.

Sample Livestock Lease Form

This is a sample lease form which can be used as a template.  This is for use between the owner and leasee.  File a copy of this form with your 4-H office.


       Required Forms to exhibit at The Big E 4-H Goat Show located below:

       Youth must have 2 years of goat project experience and be 12 years of age as of January 1 of the current year. 

Verification Form
2021 Big E Goat Application

For further information, please contact:

Carrie Chickering-Sears
State 4-H Animal Specialist
University of Massachusetts Amherst 
100 Venture Way, Suite 334
Hadley, MA 01035-9462