Youth programs with goats generally focus around 4-H and FFA projects. Often these programs involve selection of animals and production for showing the animals at fairs and other livestock shows. The most common goat project for youth is the market kid project. Another popular project is the dairy goat project. Breeding stock and showmanship are two types of show programs that youth also participate in. There are also special fiber goat shows. Fiber shows can include both live animal and fleece shows. Both registered and commercial (non-registered) animals can be shown in most goat shows, depending on the class. Show rules vary between states and even from show to show within a state, so check the rule book before you go to the show. Other youth goat projects include training goats for recreational activities such as packing and driving or for companion animal programs visiting hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
The object of the youth livestock program is to help youth develop important life skills by learning how to care for an animal and how to produce a high quality animal. The youth is expected to do the daily work of caring for and training the animal with minimal assistance from the parent or leader of the group. This allows the youth to learn and grow. As the youth gains experience they should take on more of the responsibility of the project. Your extension 4-H/youth development agent or FFA advisor can help youth select a good project and assist with learning the rules and practices of showing an animal. They should also help youth learn the scientific principles behind good livestock management. Educational resources designed for youth are available on the web at http://www.4-hdirectory.org/ by doing a quick search using the key word “goat”.
The following information is provided to help you learn more about youth goat programs. Be sure to check with your local extension office or FFA chapter for specific information for your state related to youth livestock programs.
Colorado State Youth Meat Goat Manual
Pennsylvania State 4-H Goat Program
PennState Meat Goat Reference Book
Washington State 4-H Goat Program
Quality Assurance for Youth Goat Producers
Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture & Human Sciences
There are other articles for youth at Goat:_Extension_Resources