4-H Poultry Judging Team to Represent North Carolina at Nationals!

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4-Hers at NC State pose for a picture on a tall bench

Connor, Matthew, & Elizabeth pose on the Bio Ag and Engineering Department’s big bench ready for Poultry Judging Competition results.

When you hear the term “poultry judging” you might wonder if someone’s pulling your leg… Does such a thing really exist? The students participating as members of our Senior Craven County Poultry Judging team will not only tell you “yes, it does!” but they can also tell you how much time and effort they have put into this program over the years. Matthew Peluso (16), Elizabeth Peluso (15), and Connor Howard (15), have been judging poultry for 6 years and working to make it to the National Competition.

The competition requires students to judge Past Production Laying Hens, providing Oral Reasons (justification for their decisions), judging exterior eggs (the outside shells), interior eggs (inside the egg while it’s still in the shell), broken-out eggs (egg quality on a plate), judging ready-to-cook carcasses (think rotisserie chicken before it’s cooked), identify and judge ready-to-cook parts, and judge further-processed chicken (think chicken nuggets). Held at North Carolina State University, this competition requires a lot of time and study and these youth have put in many, many hours of study and practice. Connor, Matthew, and Elizabeth won second place overall in the senior division against 6 other teams! Way to go seniors!!! In team competition, the teams with 4 youth on a team have the lowest score dropped in each division. Teams with only 3 don’t get to drop their scores. These youth were stellar!

4-Hers win 2nd place at Poultry Judging Competition

Connor, Matthew, & Elizabeth pose with their ribbons given to them by Dr. Mary Fosnaught, 4-H Poultry Specialist at NCSU

“Participating in Avian Bowl and Poultry Judging meant much practice and hard work put into getting ready and a ton of fun during the competition,” Elizabeth said. “We plan to practice a lot!!!! If you are looking into joining Avian Bowl or Poultry Judging, I highly recommend it. We learn so much and have lots of fun studying and growing together as a team!”

The first-place team was unable to go to Nationals, so NC State University has asked The Craven County Poultry Team to represent them at the National Competition November 15-16 in Louisville, KY! They will be joined by an amazing 4th member from Halifax County, Tessa Darnell, to round out their team. They are now hard at work preparing for this competition!

Craven County is so proud of the hard work that they have done in preparing for and competing at State and know that they will represent Craven County, North Carolina, and 4-H well at the National Competition.

Participating in poultry judging is a great experience for me and has taught me many things about chickens and eggs that have helped me even outside of the competition. As I continue to grow a meat chicken farm on my own being able to easier grade, ID, and cut meat is huge for me,” said Matthew. “I would say this is a great program for anyone who loves chickens or eggs.”

Connor followed by saying, “Through Poultry Judging and Avian Bowl I have learned a lot about poultry that I never would have learned about otherwise. It also has helped boost my confidence in my public speaking skills. One of the biggest things I would say is that if something seems really hard or scary at first don’t quit. Just keep practicing and working on the things you don’t do as well in and eventually you will get better, and believe me, it’s definitely worth it.”

See them in action with this video about Craven Poultry Judging


Youth practicing for 4-H Poultry Judging National competition at NCSU

Matthew, Elizabeth, Tessa, and Connor practice grading “Ready to Cook” birds at the Poultry Education Unit at NC State University