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Youth Market Turkey Show

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About the Youth Market Turkey Show

The Youth Market Turkey Show is an opportunity for youth to raise and show a market turkey at N.C. State Fair. The competition is open to any NC youth between 5-18 who will be in grades K-12 on the day of the show. The youth will register in March, pay the $15 entrance fee, pick up three poults at the university in June, rear their birds at home, and bring back their best market turkey to the N.C. State Fair show in October.

New Show Date

The 2021 NC State Fair has made adjustments to the livestock show schedules (please see the update from NC State Fair Livestock Shows below). The need to utilize existing permanent structures will result in a change to the 2021 YMTS schedule as well.

2021 Youth Market Turkey Show Weigh In of birds will be Wednesday, October 6 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

2021 Youth Market Turkey Show Event will be Thursday, October 7 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our participants and their families, and please know, your continued patience is appreciated during these unprecedented times.

N.C. State Fair Updates

April 14, 2021 – from State Fair Division

Many of you have been wondering about the status for the 2021 NC State Fair Livestock Shows. We are planning for 2021, however it will be in a modified format. The Show Schedule will not be back to “normal” or as it looked prior to 2020. With the cancellation of not only the 2020 State Fair, but also many of the other revenue generating events the fairgrounds hosts, the State Fair is not able to financially support the Youth Livestock Shows in 2021. The cost of operating the show, and any awards or premiums now relies solely on entry fees, sponsorships, donations and other fundraising efforts. In order to reduce out of pocket fixed costs, we have worked to utilize existing permanent facilities on the grounds. This has a huge impact in reducing expenses related to rental housing facilities that traditionally have been used. Unfortunately, we realize that this means that species will have to be spread out over the course of the fair, and earlier. A schedule is listed below to aid in how you may plan which species you may decide on showing for your projects this year.

2021 Youth Market Turkey Show T-shirt Design Contest

Feb 17, 2021 T-shirt Design Contest Update

Thank you to all participants who submitted designs for the 2021 YMTS T-shirt. The T-shirt Design Contest is closed for 2021. We are currently judging these entries, and all participants will receive notification of the result by email before end of the month.

Calling all artists and/or poultry enthusiasts! Submit the winning T-shirt design for the 2022 Youth Market Turkey Show T-shirt and win a free registration and T-shirt to the 2022 Youth Market Turkey Show. Submit your designs to Mary Fosnaught, Poultry Youth Programs, at

A sketch or handwritten design is acceptable. We’re looking for designs that promote youth, turkeys, North Carolina and/or the N.C. State Fair. Preference will be given for designs that can incorporate all contestant’s last names.

promotional flyer for the 2021 t-shirt design contest

Submit designs by February 15, 2022 to Mary Fosnaught.

Congratulations to the 2021 T-shirt design winner, John Tucker!

Congratulations to the 2020 T-shirt design winner, Camille Clark!

Youth Market Turkey Show Youth Ambassador Program

The 2021 Youth Market Turkey Show is looking to fill the volunteer position for the  Youth Market Turkey Show Ambassador program. This volunteer opportunity will be for one high school student each year and is designed for the youth to expand poultry science awareness, to develop outreach and networking skills, and to assist with creating more dynamic and engaging youth programming.

The program will follow a calendar year from January – December, taking the youth from start to finish of the yearly YMTS program. The youth will have monthly Zoom meetings with the poultry youth faculty mentor and will assist with major events of the program including registration, T-shirt development, poult pickup, show weigh in and Youth Market Turkey Show at the N.C. State Fair.

Please provide nominations for the 2021 Youth Market Turkey Show Youth Ambassador to Mary Fosnaught at .

Congratulations to our first and 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show Ambassador, Maggie Blevins from Davidson County. She did a terrific job under most unusual circumstances!

Important Dates

Drop Off/Weigh In – October 6*, 2021,  8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Each participant’s turkey can be dropped off at location TBD anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. Drive into the fairgrounds through Gate 2 on Hillsborough St. to drop off turkeys. When you arrive at Gate 2, signage will indicate where you will need to go.

Your bird with be checked for health and weighed. Your turkeys must be transported with bedding like shavings/straw (non-slick surface) to prevent slipping. Birds with infections or weighing less than 15 lbs. will not be accepted for show and will be returned to the exhibitor. Once birds are accepted, they will be numbered with a leg band and put in their cage. You will be asked to bring feed and water and provide it for your bird.

Turkey Show – October 7, 2021, 8 a.m.

The 2021 Youth Market Turkey Show is on Friday, October 15, 2021. The show starts at 8:00 a.m. in a location TBD.


Registration for the 2021 Youth Market Turkey Show is now closed.


If registered for the 2021 show (and not wait-listed), an invoice will be sent out by March 5, 2021. Please contact Angela Morgan, PDPS Business Administrator, at if you have not received an invoice. To submit payment for registration, please mail a check or money order with a copy of the invoice to:

NC State University
ATTN: Angela Morgan/YMTS
Campus Box 7608
Raleigh, NC  27695.

The name of the youth to be registered needs to be included with the check. Registration is $15/youth. A group check from a county office is acceptable if all registrants’ names are included.

Turkey Show Information

download information pamphlet button

Poult Pick-Up

Poult Pick-up for the 2021 Youth Market Turkey Show will be June 29 and 30, 2021.

A schedule for pick-up will be sent to participants. If you have questions, please contact Mary Fosnaught.

Pick up poults at the NC State Animal and Poultry Teaching Unit at 3841 Inwood Road (off of Lake Wheeler Road) in Raleigh, NC  27603.

In the past, when parents brought their children to Poult Pick-up, they may have provided their child’s Social Security Number (SSN), full legal name and address to N.C. State Fair personnel (Cheryl Jenkins and Carol Grant); this information is necessary in order for the state to issue prize monies. This year such information will only be collected through the state fair livestock group using Blue Ribbon Systems during the summer.

If you do not want to provide your child’s SSN, you may sign a form agreeing that you are opting to not receive prize monies.

University policy prohibits employees from handling SSNs. If you are an agent picking up poults for youth, those participants will need to have their parents call Cheryl Jenkins (919.839.4522) or Carol Grant (919.839.4531) at the N.C. State Fair office between July 1 and September 15, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and provide the SSN of their child and verify their full legal name and address.

Courtesy of the NC State University Feed Mill Education Unit, each participant will receive 5 lbs. of feed to get the birds off to a good start.

Please bring a cardboard box with you for transporting poults.

Poult Pick-Up Questions

To help make the poult pick-up process easy, see our Q&A:

QUESTION:  Is this where we normally pick up poults?  

Yes, poults will be picked up in the Poultry Teaching Unit which is the same place as previous years. However, the address was listed as 3901 Inwood Road, and the actual address is 3841 Inwood Road (3901 is the swine unit next door; Poultry Teaching Unit is first building on the left after turning onto Inwood Road).
QUESTION:  I am a 4-H Leader picking up poults for my club members. How do I handle SSNs?
Parents will need to call N.C. State Fair personnel (Cheryl Jenkins at 919.839.4522 or Carol Grant at 919.839.4531) between July 1 and September 15, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. to provide SSN and verification of full legal name and address of their child. University policy prohibits employees from handling SSNs.

Preparing for the Show

Each turkey will be judged on a rubric which evaluates Confirmation and Fleshing of the bird and Management by the participant based on the Market Turkey Score Sheet.

Prior to birds coming to the state fairgrounds for the Youth Market Turkey Show, you should do the following:

Weigh your bird

Each bird must weigh a minimum of 15 lbs. If your bird does not make weight, it will be sent home. Your 15 week old Tom is expected to weigh 26-30 lbs. A bird almost 50% of its target weight indicates a disease and/or welfare issue. A bathroom scale can be used to weigh your birds at home.

Check Birds for Disease

Do a visual health check of your bird. Birds with overt signs of disease will not pass the health check at weigh in and will not be allowed to be shown. Diseases like Fowl Pox or Upper Respiratory Infections can be identified at home.

Bathe your bird

Yes, give your bird a bath at least 1 week prior to showing! Your bird will present better at the show. A grownup will need to assist with this process. Pick a warm day. Get two large totes and fill with warm water. Use a small amount of Dawn dish liquid in the first tote and vinegar in second tote (1/2 cup vinegar to 5 gallons water). Gently immerse the bird into the first tote with the dish liquid being careful of its wings. An old towel can be wrapped around the bird to keep the wings secure until its immersed. Slowly pour water over all parts of bird except the head. Use a rag to wipe any soiled areas moving in the same directions as the feathers. Carefully pick up the bird and move to the second tote with the vinegar; the towel can be again wrapped around the bird to prevent flapping and injury. Again, slowly pour the vinegar water over the bird (avoiding head) to rinse. Again wrap the bird with a dry towel to absorb water and move to a clean, sunny area until the feathers are dry. If it is cool, a hair dryer can be used but being careful not to put on too high of a setting.

Turkey Show Location

The Youth Market Turkey Show is in the Poultry Tent next to Gate 2 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

View the map and download or print a copy.

Turkey Judging

Participants are evaluated on the overall weight of their turkeys, the muscling in the breast and legs and how well each participant has taken care of their bird.

See how turkeys get judged with this video (1:54) featuring Dr. Carm Parkhurst.



Game Bird Guidelines
Southern States Feed Guidelines
Aviagen Turkeys Feeding Recommendations for Commercial Stock


Raising Turkeys
University of New Hampshire


A special thanks to the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at NC State University for making this event possible.

Thank you to Prestage Farms and Butterball for providing poults for each participant.

For additional information contact

Dr. Mary Fosnaught
4-H & Youth Development Extension Associate
NC State Extension
Prestage Department of Poultry Science
Raleigh, NC 27695-7608

Phone: +1 919.515.5529