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4-H members learn communication, problem-solving at national poultry conference

Team and coaches pose together.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Four Illinois 4-H members headed to the 2023 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference. This event recognizes 4-H members who have excelled in their state 4-H poultry learning activities. The overall objective is to offer national-level activities and contests designed to introduce participants to poultry and the poultry industry.

“This National 4-H event is important for senior-aged 4-H members,” says Ken Koelkebeck, University of Illinois Extension poultry specialist. “Getting the chance to compete in this event is a testament to their excellence.”

Members of the Illinois team were: Rachel Dickson of Kendall County, Madisyn Glenn of Kendall County, Faustina Krysciak of Kendall County, and Julia Muschetto of Will County.

Last year marked Illinois 4-H’s return to the contest with one member competing, and this year interest in the competition led to the creation of a team. The Illinois 4-H Team competed in both the Poultry Judging and Avian Bowl Contests at the conference.

Skills tested during the Poultry Judging competition include orderly decision-making, using reasoning skills, communicating decisions, poultry dish preparation, food safety, and subject matter knowledge of species of poultry, food safety, physiology, nutrition, and eggs.

The Avian Bowl stands as a double elimination competition designed for state teams, drawing inspiration from other knowledge bowls. Participants are required to possess an in-depth understanding of the subject matter, encompassing various aspects such as multiple poultry species, food safety, physiology, nutrition, eggs, and other pertinent topics. Success in the Avian Bowl demands a well-rounded knowledge base, ensuring participants are well-versed in the diverse facets of poultry and related subjects.

Outside of competition knowledge, national competitions also help youth learn life skills and introduce the participants to careers in the poultry and allied industries.

“Youth learn life skills such as leadership skills, communication skills, problem solving, and decision making,” says Koelkebeck.

Financial support was provided by University of Illinois' Department of Animal Sciences, the State 4-H Office, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation.

Source: Dan Jennings, 4-H Livestock Educator,

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.  

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.