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NC State Extension

Youth Market Turkey Show

About the Youth Market Turkey Show

The Youth Market Turkey Show is an opportunity for youth to raise and show market turkeys. The 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show will be held during the 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.

N.C. State Fair Updates

August 28, 2020

There have been many shows canceled or postponed this spring, and that has prompted many to ask what will happen this fall. Unfortunately, none of us know what the future holds so we are preparing for the State Fair just the same as any other year. However, we cannot 100% guarantee that it will happen. This is a good year to be reminded that there is always a financial risk associated with livestock projects, and each family should decide the level of risk they are comfortable with.

June 15, 2020

from N.C. State Fair Division

Agriculture and youth livestock events are at the heart of the North Carolina State Fair. While many changes have occurred in 2020, the 2020 N.C. State Fair intends to offer a modified livestock show program for junior competitors; however, open livestock shows will not be held this year.

It is important to note that planning for the N.C. State Fair continues and no decision has been made at this time regarding the operation of the fair this year in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic and current executive orders regarding gatherings of people.

We encourage our youth livestock exhibitors to continue working with their projects to be ready for the show ring this fall. This is a significant time and financial commitment these young people are making, and we want to be able to recognize their hard work in a way that is safe.

In the past, the agriculture and agribusiness community, along with Fair operators and vendors, have been tremendous supporters of our junior livestock shows, and their support will be even more critical going forward. Some may be in a position to support the shows this year, some may not. If your farm or business would like to be a sponsor of the junior livestock shows, please contact Neil Bowman at 919-270-7094 or email at

We will continue to work out details of these modified shows and will be providing more information as soon as possible. Please follow this Facebook page for updates.

2021 Youth Market Turkey Show T-shirt Design Contest

Calling all artists and/or poultry enthusiasts! Submit the winning T-shirt design for the 2021 Youth Market Turkey Show T-shirt and win a free registration and T-shirt to the 2021 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, 2021 to Mary Fosnaught.

New Youth Market Turkey Show Youth Ambassador Program

The 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show will be launching a Youth 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.

Written nominations for the next year’s Youth Market Turkey Show Youth Ambassador can be sent to Mary Fosnaught at during November and December of the year prior to the next Ambassador program calendar year.

Congratulations to our First Youth Market Turkey Show Ambassador

Our first Youth Market Turkey Show Ambassador for 2020 will be Maggie Blevins. Maggie Blevins is a Junior from Davidson County.

Congratulations to the 2020 T-shirt design winner

Camille Clark’s design was chosen for the 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show T-shirt. Well done, Camille!

Important Dates

Drop Off/Weigh In – October 15, 2020,  8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Each participant’s tom can be dropped off at Dorton Arena anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, 2020. 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. 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 16, 2020, 8 a.m.

The 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show is on Friday, October 16, 2020. The show starts at 8:00 a.m. in the Dorton Arena.


Thank you for registering

Thank you for registering for the 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show. Registration is now full. It was open on March 2, 2020 at 9 a.m. Upon reaching a maximum number of registrants and wait-listed participants, the registration form is now closed.


To submit payment for registration, please mail a check or money order to:

NC State University
ATTN:  Chelsey Coleman/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.

red payment form button

Turkey Show Information

download information pamphlet button

Poult Pick-Up

Poult Pick-up for the 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show will be June 29 and 30, 2020.

A schedule for pick-up was 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.

If you are a parent bringing your child to Poult Pick-up, please bring your child’s Social Security Number (SSN), full legal name and address to Poult Pick-up. This year, Cheryl Jenkins and Carol Grant, N.C. State Fair personnel, will be at Poult Pick-up to collect this information, which is required in order for the state to issue a check for prize monies.

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

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 cleann, 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