4-H Livestock

4H CloverFrom species-specific project information and validation updates, to entry information, we hope our resources prove beneficial to your needs. Whether you are a seasoned livestock showman or newcomer to 4-H Livestock projects, we are here to help you achieve your goals! We aim to update our site often, so please utilize our online 4-H Calendar to stay up-to-date on local project information and pertinent dates. You can also utilize texasyouthlivestock.com for video and publication resources. Our goal is help you every step of your livestock project experience.

What does a 4-H Livestock Project entail?

No matter what specie of livestock you decide to work with, each 4-H Livestock project teaches the fundamentals of the livestock industry by allowing youth to explore the areas of animal husbandry, livestock selection, health and care, in addition to exhibition at local, county, state, and national shows. It’s important to research the animal you are interested in raising and determine the type of facility you need, the cost of feed, how to care for that animal and more.  The Bexar County 4-H program strives to provide learning opportunities for youth engaging in livestock projects. However, the 4-H Livestock project encompasses much more than feeding and caring for an animal. 4-H provides opportunities to see production practices many have never seen. The video below highlights the Youth Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program. Youth take a 6 day tour and experience agricultural production first hand. Students will be exposed to many quality programs that will better their understanding of the agricultural food producing industry that feeds a growing world. 4-H members that have a strong interest in production agriculture who are incoming high school freshmen through outgoing seniors are the target audience. Through the 4-H Livestock Project and programs like the Youth Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program, we hope participants will gain insight into the many career opportunities that the Agriculture industry has to offer.

Which animal is the right one for me? – Livestock Selection

Raising an animal is one of the most rewarding things a 4-H member can do in their career. It teaches responsibility, discipline, decision making, leadership, and above all respect for living creatures. However, depending on your personal circumstances some livestock projects may be better suited for you than others. Please take a look at the informational chart below to take a glance at the time commitment, spacing, and cost of each species. Once you’ve determined a species, you can talk to members in your club or our local County Extension Agent for more information.


How do I show my animal? – Validation Guide

Once you have selected and acquired an animal, you will want to take the next step in preparing it for show. Proper nutrition, handling, grooming and care will get your animal ready for the ring, but before you get ahead of yourself, you will first need to get your animal validated. The physical validation process allows for certification of exhibitor ownership, possession, animal identification (tattoo/notches/brands/etc.) far in advance of each respective major livestock show. Please go over the checklist of REQUIRED VALIDATION steps before you show.

checkboxStep 1: PRE-ORDER VALIDATION TAGS. Tags are ordered for Lambs, Goats, Swine, and Steers only. Depending on which shows you are wanting to participate in, you will order County tags for our local County show or State tags for Major Livestock Shows. Order forms and payment for tags are due roughly 2 months prior to the species validation dates to our local Bexar County 4-H Office (3355 Cherry Ridge Dr. Suite 212, San Antonio, Texas 78230). We HIGHLY encourage members to order extra tags if they foresee purchasing extra animals in the future. Late tag orders are assessed a higher fee and are not guaranteed due to availability. Tags are NOT distributed to families, they will be available to you at the physical validation site to be placed in the animal’s ear. Please see below for each tag validation order form.

checkboxStep 2: ATTEND VALIDATION. Once your tags are ordered, you will need to pay close attention to your Bexar County 4-H emails to find out validation dates, times and locations. When you arrive at a validation, you will need to bring your animals. You may need to bring registration papers for BREEDING ANIMALS ONLY. You will fill out the appropriate paperwork to validate your animal and receive the tags you ordered at this time. Members of the validation committee will then tag your animal, pull hair, and depending on the species tattoo, nose print, or record notches. The physical validation process is conducted and overseen by local County Extension Agents and Agriculture Teachers. It is imperative that you attend one of the scheduled validation dates. If you do not get your animal validated you will NOT be able to show. Validation will occur as follows:

2023 Validation Dates:

Steers and Heifers

Fall Heifer Validation

June 8th 8:30-11:00 am ASTA October 28th 9:00-11:00 am East Central
June 12th 8:30-11:00 am James Madison

Swine Validation

June 21st 4:00-6:30 pm East Central November 8th 4:30-6:00 pm Southwest

State Fair Lamb, Goat and Swine Validation

November 11th 2:00-5:00 pm ASTA
June 21st 9:00-11:00 am East Central November 14th 4:00-6:00 pm Judson

Sheep and Goat Validation –

November 20th 5:00-7:00 pm James Madison
October 12th 3:00-6:00 pm James Madison November 21st 2:00-5:00 pm East Central
October 19th 3:00-6:00 pm ASTA


checkboxStep 3: COMPLETE QUALITY COUNTS. The Quality Counts exam is a mandatory test all exhibitors must take in order to showcase their commitment to producing a safe and wholesome livestock product for the consumer. Verification of passing the Quality Counts exam is an effort that 4-H youth comply with and submit to all major stock shows to demonstrate their knowledge on quality assurance and good moral character. Youth exhibitors take the online Quality Counts exam and obtain a Verification Number that will be needed on stock show entry forms.  Taking the exam and obtaining a Quality Counts number can be accomplished through the following website: Quality Counts For more information please click here.

checkboxStep 4: STOCK SHOW ENTRY. Once you have validated your animal, you will then need to enter that animal into the Livestock Show. Stock show entry forms are different depending on which show you plan to participate in. If you need help entering your animal, please do not hesitate to call our office at 210-631-0400. You will need to turn in your entry forms, and payment to the Bexar County 4-H Office (3355 Cherry Ridge Dr. Suite 212, San Antonio, Texas 78230). Major Stock show entries are typically due in mid-November. Watch your emails or check our 4-H Calendar for the exact date. There are no late entries accepted at the Bexar County 4-H Office! Please be aware that some entry forms require notarization. Please do not wait until the last minute to complete your entry forms. Links to Major Stock show websites and Premium books are located below for reference.

checkboxStep 5: SUBMIT ELIGIBILITY FORM. All 4-H competitive events require an academic eligibility form be completed by 4-H members. Eligibility forms will be mailed to exhibitors and returned to our offices (3355 Cherry Ridge Dr. Suite 212, San Antonio, Texas 78230) on the due date specified on the form. Any child failing classes will be ineligible to participate.

checkboxStep 6: STAY CURRENT WITH EMAIL UPDATES. Once you have successfully submitted your entries and eligibility paperwork you are set for the show! Please monitor your emails for updates on your particular shows. Additional passes that you ordered will be delivered to our office and will be available for pick up prior to the show. In the meantime, you should be working with your animal and getting ready for it’s big day!

Online Resources:

General Livestock & Agriculture/Natural Resources



Sheep & Goats


Stock Show Links & Information:

Bexar County Junior Livestock Show

State Fair of Texas Stock Show

Heart O’ Texas Stock Show

San Antonio Stock Show

Houston Stock Show

San Angelo Stock Show

Rodeo Austin Stock Show

Fort Worth Stock Show

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