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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 Update

Update (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.

Update (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.

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 14, 2020, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Each participant’s hen can be dropped off at the Poultry Tent anytime between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on October 14, 2020. Drive into the fairgrounds through Gate 4 on Youth Center Drive to drop off all livestock.

Once in the Poultry Tent, birds will be weighed, numbered with a leg band and put in their cage. Each participant will receive an entry ticket and parking pass to be used on Friday, the day of the turkey show when the fair will be open.

T-shirts will be available to purchase on Wednesday and Friday.

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 a.m.


Update: March 30, 2020

Due dates for submitting payment for the 2020 Youth Market Turkey Show has been postponed until April 15, 2020 as processing time for university mail is delayed.

Individuals that are wait-listed will be contacted on April 20, 2020 if they have been moved to an active registration and will need to submit payment for registration.

All checks that have not already been cashed at this time will be held until May 1 to reevaluate the evolving issues in the state and their influence on the YMTS.

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. A confirmation email will be sent out on March 3, 2020 to confirm youth that are registered and those that are wait-listed.

If you were one of the first 300 to register, your registration will be confirmed pending payment. If you registered after the first 300, your registration will be wait listed, and you will be notified via email if your status changes. Due to cancellations and nonpayments, many individuals will come off of the wait list.

If you are registered, you will need to submit payment by April 1, 2020 (see next section “Fees”). If you are wait listed, you will be contacted by April 15 as to your status (that is, if you have been removed from the wait list). At this time, wait-listed participants moved to registered status will be asked to submit registration payment by April 30, 2020.

To assist you with completing the registration form when it is live (3/2/20 at 9 a.m.), the following information will be required. This is the same information as collected in previous years with the addition of Agree to Terms of Payment (item #12).

  1. Name of person filling out registration form
  2. Email Address of Person Filling out the Registration Form
  3. Email Address (of PARENT or legal guardian)
  4. Full Legal Name of YOUTH Participant – First, Middle, Last, and Suffix (Same as name on participant’s social security card – this is a requirement by the State Fair Office for the participant to receive an award check.)
  5. County of YOUTH participant
  6. Physical Address of YOUTH participant
  7. City (part of Physical Address of YOUTH participant)
  8. State  (part of Physical Address of YOUTH participant)
  9. Zip Code  (part of Physical Address of YOUTH participant)
  10. Age Category (based on age as of June 1, 2020)
  11. How many poults would you like?
  12. I understand and agree to pay $15 for this registration. I also understand that if payment is not received within 30 days, registration may be forfeited.

Registration filled last year within two hours. Once registration is full, another 50 registrations will be accepted on a wait-list condition. After the wait list is full, the registration form will be closed.

The wait-listed group will be notified in 45 days if they will be removed from the wait list. If so, they will then be asked to submit registration payment at this time.


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.

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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