South Malahat District
South Malahat 4-H Auction
South Malahat 4-H Auction  >  Animal Care

Animal Care


Why are 4-H Animals Sold at Auctions?

Many 4-H animal projects are sold at auctions. Steers, sheep, swine and poultry are very often sold at the end of the project year either at a 4-H or public auction. The sale of a project animal is not mandatory as the 4-H rules state that market projects must be raised to finished weights. Therefore the sale of an animal is the member’s choice. Auctions are also a traditional method of selling the products from farms and ranches. Most 4-H members who sell their projects do so to raise money for their next year’s project, for post secondary education or to give them a start on their own herds.

Who Takes Care of Project Animals?

The true experts on livestock care and management are those who do it every day. 4-H members are responsible for the care of their own projects. That doesn’t mean that they cannot get help from adults. Parents and leaders are their greatest source of information and advice. Leaders of 4-H projects are volunteers who have knowledge of, and an interest in that specific project. Successful leaders are objective, keep up to date and base their teaching on facts. Parents, because of their children’s involvement, have an invested interest in the care of project animals. Parents often help when members begin the training of their animals and because of this; 4-H is truly a family program. The philosophy of the 4-H program is explained by the 4-H motto, “Learn to do by Doing." By looking after their projects, 4-H members learn many valuable skills such as goal setting, record keeping and project management.

What are Showmanship, Show Sticks and Canes?

Showmanship is an important part of any livestock project in the 4-H program. It means presenting an animal in a way that makes it look its best. Showmanship takes lots of time and practice with the animal. It also means that the member needs a substantial amount of patience. Depending on the animal involved, the member must clip, groom, wash, trim hooves, feed properly and also spend time training for the correct response to the show halter, stick or cane and people. A show cane is a long, light stick and a cane is just that, a wooden cane. Both of these are used to guide or set an animal up. The member will scratch the animal’s belly to calm him or keep him standing still. They might also touch a foot with the stick or cane to move that leg to a more advantageous position.

How does 4-H ensure that its Animals are Healthy?

Every 4-H livestock project includes an extensive manual that contains husbandry skills. Husbandry involves housing, bedding, veterinary practices, breeding programs, grooming sanitation, handling and of course, feeding. 4-H members are encouraged to follow good husbandry practices and to search out new innovative methods. Animals used in 4-H projects are inspected regularly by leaders, and members are taught correct and positive husbandry skills. Veterinarians are consulted by members and are also included in meetings and workshops. When leaders visit members to inspect their projects, they look for clean and safe facilities with shelter from the elements, availability of clean water, good quality feed along with salt and minerals. They check the animal itself for cleanliness and condition and the member will be asked questions regarding the way they look after the animal, including such things as parasite control and trimming of feet.

 4-H Livestock Project Guidelines set Welfare Standards

Members and leaders of 4-H Clubs believe, as do most people, that animals should be treated humanely. 4-H protects its animals with rules developed through years of education and with proper husbandry practices such as the Codes of Practice developed through the agriculture industry for the raising of livestock. The following five freedoms must be provided for all animals:

  • freedom to express socially acceptable patterns of behaviour
  • freedom from thermal or physical discomfort
  • freedom from malnutrition
  • freedom from injury or disease
  • freedom from fear

4-H members and leaders welcome visitors behind the scenes at fairs and exhibitions, and they encourage anyone with questions to Contact Us

What are the Objectives of the 4-H Program?

4-H is an organization dedicated to young people. It gives them an opportunity to learn how to become productive, self-assured adults who can make their community and country a good place in which to live. The objectives of 4-H club work are knowledge, leadership, citizenship and personal development. 4-H stands for head, heart, hands and health. The 4-H pledge describes the significance of the four H’s:

I pledge

My head to clearer thinking,

My heart to greater loyalty,

My hands to larger service,

My health to better living,

For my club, my community and my country.

Take a look for yourself! 


People have questions regarding the treatment of animals involved with 4-H projects. The information on this website provides brief answers to the questions asked most often. For more information, please Contact Us


The content from this page was use by permission from BC 4-H Publication #1990


Revised 2019