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4-H Swine Project

Program Contact: Jenny W. Loyd, 4-H Program Coordinator
(509) 574-1600 •

The three youth guides in the swine series are designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners respectively. Youth may work at the level most appropriate for them. Each guide includes an achievement program to provide challenging activities, a way to expand project experiences beyond the animal and a means to recognize youth for what they have accomplished. The activities in this guide are specifically designed to help youth develop skills in decision making, relating to others, communicating with others and learning to learn.

Please note there are age restrictions on this project area:

Youth must be 8 by October 1st of the current 4-H year to be eligible for:

  • Competitive situations, such as livestock shows or sales
  • Enrollment in large animal projects, including Beef, Dairy, Goat, Horse, Sheep, Alpaca/Llama, and Swine
  • Enrollment in shooting sports projects
  • Enrollment in projects using motorized vehicles
  • Enrollment in food preservation projects

Cloverbuds, 4-H youth ages 5-7, may participate in a number of age-appropriate activities, though they may not participate in competitive events.

If you have questions about eligibility please, contact your county 4-H coordinator.


Youth will:

  • Learn about swine breeds and how to select the breed best for their 4-H project
  • Identify swine anatomy and identify how healthy swine look and behave
  • Understand the selection, grooming, feeding, training and care of swine project animals
  • Name and identify cuts of meat and discover pork and pork byproducts
  • Prepare, show, and market their project animals at fair

A black pig laying on its side on a bed of straw looks at the camera

4-H Swine Curriculum

Available in the Extension office or online.

Level 1: The Incredible Pig

Activities include naming breeds, learning swine body parts, judging market hogs, exploring a digestive system, examining a healthy pig, identifying pork cuts, and practicing fitting and showing.

Level 2: Putting the Oink in Pig

Activities in Swine 2 include managing baby pigs, balancing a ration, exploring swine diseases, preparing pork, discovering swine careers and packing a show box.

Level 3: Going Whole Hog

Advanced youth will plan a breeding system, judge breeding gilts, design a swine operation, complete a job application, explore career opportunities and international markets plus many other challenging activities.

Swine Helper’s Guide

Packed with activities to involve the entire group. Youth will plan a program, complete project records, develop a management calendar, explore the pork quality assurance program & investigate character education.

Exploring Swine Health & Husbandry Curriculum

This curriculum is designed as a guide for the project facilitator. The activities and background information in this curriculum will help youth develop the requisite knowledge and skills associated with raising and showing swine. Activities are youth centered and include opportunities for the application of knowledge and skills at three different levels of experience: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Topics Include:
*bio-security risk assessment and mitigation strategies.
*budgeting decisions associated with raising and housing swine.
*dietary needs of pigs at different life stages.
*elements of swine conformation.
*pre-show preparation; showmanship; and judging.
*strategies for crossbreeding swine.
*ethical decision making in caring for and showing swine.
*tip-to-tail health assessments.

Washington 4-H Records, Forms, and Guides

For youth members

C0728E – Market Livestock Record

Worksheets for keeping track of costs and returns on 4-H market livestock projects.

C0729E – Breeding Livestock Record

Worksheet for keeping track of costs and returns on 4-H breeding livestock projects.

C0914E – Animal Science Record

Sheet that records inventory, expenses, and income from an animal science project.

C1055E – Producer Affidavit & Market Swine Health Record

Youth producers will record all relevant health information for their market swine on this form. A sample form includes instructions for completing the form.

C1113E – Supplemental Animal Affidavit & Health Record

A supplemental sheet to go with the 4-H health forms for individuals that need to record more treatments, etc.

EM3125 – 4-H Member Manual:  Advanced Livestock Science

NEEC20594 – Livestock Judging Guide

For adult helpers and club leaders

PNW677 – Judging Swine and Oral Reasons 101

State 4-H Swine Project Resources
Three pigs in an interior setting face the camera at left; at right, the title "Swine" in light blue on a reddish-brown background.

Helpful Resources

Activity Ideas

Livestock E-Quiz

This website was created by the University of Illinois Extension to help you learn more  about beef, dairy, horses, poultry, sheep, swine, forage, and meats.

Washington Specific Reference Material

What you should know about
out-of-state pigs in Washington State Fact Sheet (PDF)

Other Reference Material

From 4-H Programs


From Higher Education Institutions


From Related Organizations, Journals, and Professionals

A Champion’s Guide to Youth Swine Exhibition: Biosecurity and Your Pig Project – U.S. Pork Center of Excellence

Did you know that regardless of how many pigs you care for, whether it’s a single show pig or thousands of market hogs, you are part of the pork industry? And, just as you are responsible for keeping your show pig(s) healthy, you share the responsibility of keeping all of the pigs in the United States healthy!

A healthy swine herd starts with raising healthy pigs at home. And raising a healthy pig starts with biosecurity.

This booklet is intended for youth exhibitors of all ages and levels of experience. In it, you will find recommended biosecurity guidelines to follow on the farm and when taking pigs to fairs and exhibitions.

Pork Quality Assurance Plus Handbook (PDF)

Site Assessment Guide – National Pork Board


Kits, Projects, and Activities from National 4-H

Veterinary Science Curriculum Collection

Livestock Curriculum Collection

Swine Curriculum Collection

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