First of all: what is 4-H??? 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States. It’s designed to teach children a variety of skills between the ages of 8 and 18. Its set-up to be cost effective and flexible with respect to learning opportunities and meeting times. The overall goal of 4-H is to provide critical learning resources for kids and teens throughout the year by empowering them to be leaders using a learn-by-doing approach.

The 4 H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health which represent the 4 values members work on through their programs. If you want some 4-H trivia, it used to be called the tomato club and the corn growing club.

4‑H is a charitable organization administered and delivered by Cooperative Extension via a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation including my university, UC Davis, that provides experiences where young people learn by doing.

There are a variety of different programs your local 4-H can help you navigate but the poultry program is one of the most common opportunities. When it comes to poultry and 4-H, learn by doing is the basic approach which means members raise poultry as part of a poultry project with opportunities that include raising poultry for meat, eggs or just as pets. As part of their poultry project members learn all the basics related to husbandry, welfare, food safety and beyond. Most importantly whether it’s poultry, goats or robotics, they learn crucial life skills such as communication, self-esteem and teamwork that are the foundation for a lifetime of success. Give it a try! Find your local 4-H here!


Written by Dr. Maurice Pitesky at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.