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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension



Welcome to the Ohio 4-H Poultry Projects and Resource page!


The Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has been detected in a backyard chicken flock located in Franklin County. “Enhanced Biosecurity is the number one preventative measure against avian influenza,” said Dr. Dennis Summers, State Veterinarian in a statement. “HPAI can infect any size flock. We urge all poultry owners to intensify their biosecurity and best management practices."

Below are links to resources from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and a brochure from OSU Extension outlining signs to watch for, prevention, and biosecurity.

Ohio Department of Agriculture-Best Practices for Biosecurity

OSU Extension Avian Influenza brochure

Poultry Biosecurity for 4H Youth (from 4.5.22 live webinar)


2023 Calendar of Events


  18 - Ohio Youth Poultry Clinic 


  4 - Youth Poultry Webinars: Nutrition

  10 - Youth Poultry Webinars: Health & Biosecurity

  15 - Youth Poultry Webinars: Handling, Welfare, and Carcass Quality


  17 - Ohio State Fair 4-H Poultry Judging Contest Postmark Entry Deadline

  17 - Ohio State Fair 4-H Avian Bowl Contest Postmark Entry Deadline

  29 - OSF 4-H Poultry Judging Contest

  29 - OSF 4-H Avian Bowl


  2 - In-Person Skillathon


Factsheets and Resources

Interested in learning more about poultry breeds? Watch videos of select large fowl, bantams, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guinea fowl HERE.


Click on this link Backyard Poultry Production to find excellent information about finding and raising backyard poultry from Tim McDermott, DVM and Franklin County Extension Educator.

Putting Science into Animal Sciences Projects Fact Sheets
  • Should I take Broilers as a 4-H Project?
  • Should I take Turkeys as a 4-H Project?
4-H Program / Project Book

Previous Ohio 4-H poultry project books have been condensed into one Poultry Project and Record Book for members of all skill levels. Use this book for these projects:

  • Chicken, Exhibition (Fancy)
  • Chicken, Market
  • Chicken, Egg Production: Hens and Pullets
  • Duck, Exhibition (Fancy)
  • Duck, Market
  • Goose, Exhibition (Fancy)
  • Goose, Market
  • Turkey, Exhibition (Fancy)
  • Turkey, Market
  • Helmeted Guinea Fowl

This book and other Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development publications are available from the Ohio State University eStore or from local county Extension offices, where Ohio 4-H club advisors, club members, and other Ohio residents get the best price.


Unless otherwise indicated, these articles from are for use with 4-H poultry projects. eXtension is a national database that collects articles and videos from Extension experts around the country. To make the articles easier for Ohio 4-H members to access, they have been downloaded and collected here. Not all of the available articles are included here, but these are the ones most likely to be relevant to 4-H members. A handful of articles from our Ohio 4-H specialists are included too. Use the links below to download and print each article. There are a lot, but most of them are very short.

Interested only in chickens? The italicized titles below cover the basics. For convenience, they are also available in this single document called Basic Information About Chickens (162 pages).


Deciding What Type of Poultry to Raise in Small or Backyard Flocks

What Type of Turkey is best for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks?

Which Duck Breed is best for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks?

Which Goose Breed is best for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks?

Chicken Breed Selection (Schirtzinger, McDermott – ANR-60)


Anatomy and Physiology

External Anatomy of Poultry Kept on Small or Backyard Flocks: Chickens

External Anatomy of Poultry Kept on Small or Backyard Flocks: Turkey

External Anatomy of Poultry Kept on Small or Backyard Flocks: Duck

External Anatomy of Poultry Kept on Small or Backyard Flocks: Goose

External Anatomy of Poultry Kept on Small or Backyard Flocks: Guinea Fowl

How Can I Distinguish Male and Female Chickens?



Anatomy of a Feather

Avian Digestive System

Avian Immune System

Avian Muscular System

Avian Reproductive System – Female

Avian Reproductive System - Male

Avian Respiratory System

Avian Skeletal System


Poultry Production

Raising Chickens for Egg Production

Raising Meat Chickens in Small or Backyard Flocks

Raising Meat Turkeys in Small or Backyard Flocks

Raising Ducks Intended for Consumption

Raising Geese in Small or Backyard Flocks

Raising Guinea Fowl

Chicken Meat Cuts

Turkey Meat Cuts

Duck Meat Cuts



Normal Behaviors of Chickens in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Interactions of Chickens in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks with Other Species

Egg Eating by Chickens in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Feather Pecking and Cannibalism in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks



Biosecurity for Small Poultry Flocks

Transport and Care of Poultry

Predator Management for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Toe Trimming of Turkeys or Chickens in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Beak Trimming of Poultry in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Wing Clipping in Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks



Small Scale Poultry Housing

House Design for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Ventilation in Housing for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Lighting in Housing for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Insulation of Housing for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Litter Material for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Perches in Housing for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks

Winter Care for Your Laying Hens (University of Maine):



Basic Poultry Nutrition

Water Requirements for Poultry

Common Feed Ingredients in Poultry Diets

Additives in Poultry Feed

Mycotoxins in Poultry Feed

Feeding Chickens for Egg Production

Feeding Ducks Intended for Consumption

Feeding Geese

Mineral Deficiencies in Poultry

Raising Commercial Ducks as a 4-H or FFA Project



Terminology Related to Poultry Disease

Common Signs of Illness in Poultry

Common Poultry Diseases


        Avian Influenza



        Egg Peritonitis in Laying Hens


        Fowl Cholera

        Fowl Pox

        Fowl Typhoid

        Green Muscle Disease

        Infectious Bronchitis

        Infectious Bursal Disease

        Infectious Coryza


        Marek’s Disease


        Newcastle Disease

        Pullorum Disease

        Salmonella Enteritidis


        Sudden Death Syndrome       

External Parasites of Poultry

Internal Parasites of Poultry

Prolapse in Poultry Kept in Small and Backyard Flocks

Frostbite in Chickens

Use of Anticoccidial Medications and Vaccines in Poultry Production


Breeding and Hatching

Choosing an Incubator (Miller)

Brooding Poultry Hatchlings

Blood Spot Eggs Produced by Small and Backyard Chicken Flocks

Egg Problems and Deficiencies 

Poultry Genetics for Small and Backyard Flocks: An Introduction

Sexing Day-Old Chicks on Small and Backyard Flocks

Sex-Link Traits in Poultry



Exhibition Poultry (Miller)

Bathing and Grooming Poultry (Miller)

Showmanship (Miller)


Human Health/Zoonosis

How to Handle Eggs Safely

Safe Handling of Eggs from Small and Backyard Flocks

Salmonella and Backyard Chickens

Additional Resources

Downloadable List of Poultry Resources

Need some reliable, research-based sources for information about your poultry project? We recommend you start here, with the links below. 

  • eXtension, This national database collects articles and videos from Extension experts around the country. Not seeing what you want to know? Submit your own question to Ask an Expert.
  • University of Kentucky Poultry Science, A good general overview of poultry from our land grant partners at University of Kentucky.
  • American Poultry Association (APA), Information about shows, health, and competition from the publishers of the American Standard of Per­fection.
  • American Bantam Association (ABA), A wealth of resources and images from the publishers of the Bantam Standard.
  • Poultry Show Central, Up-to-date resource for information about poultry shows, breeders, and more.
  • United State Environmental Protection Agency, Click on "Ag101 (PDF)" and then on Poultry Production for an overall perspective on the broiler and layer industries. 
These print resources offer thorough and practical information too: 

Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry, 4th Edition: Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks, Geese, Guineas, Gamebirds by Glenn Drowns (2012)

How to Raise Poultry: Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Revised (FFA) by Christine Heinrichs (2014) 

Poultry Biosecurity Resources
  • Biosecurity for Backyard Poultry - Timothy McDermott, DVM, OSUE Franklin County - presentation made during the November 7, 2018, Assuring Quality Care for Animals In-Service


Fair Season Toolkit for Poultry Biosecurity

Avian Influenza and Biosecurity Fact Sheet

High Path Avian Influenza Update - Jan 2022

Backyard Biosecurity

Poultry Biosecurity Guide

Hand Washing after Handling Chicks and Ducklings


Ohio Poultry Veterinarians

Click here for a list of poultry veterinarians willing to treat 4-H members' poultry. Click here for an Ohio map showing location of poultry veterinarians. (Updated June, 2019)


Certified Pullorum Testers

Click here for the list of certified pullorum testers (Updated 2021)

A great factsheet from OPA on Pullorum Testing Common Questions and Answers



On behalf of the Ohio 4-H Poultry Programs, we would like to offer our sincerest THANKS to the following organization(s) their support of our programs.

Ohio Poultry Association:


Contact Information

OSU Extension Poultry Team

Michael Cressman, Assistant Professor - Professional Practice