Youth Rabbit and Cavy Exhibits at NYS Fair

2024 Entry Procedures

All entries must be submitted on the NYS Fair website by 5 pm on August 2, 2024.

  • NYS Fair Youth Livestock Show Entries must be completed via ShoWorks on the NYS Fair website by Friday, August 2 at 5 pm. Information for specific species can be found under NYS Fair Youth Livestock on the How to Enter 2024 NYS Fair Competition website.
  • All required forms (Non-ownership, lodging, general release, etc.) can be found on the NYS Fair 4-H Animal Science website.
  • Exhibitors must receive endorsement of a county 4-H Educator, FFA Advisor or other breed organization to compete at the NYS Fair. Any entry that does not receive endorsement may be scratched.
  • Contact your local CCE Association before you enter to make sure that you have qualified to participate at the NYS State Fair and follow carefully any instructions they may give you.
  • Information regarding NYS Animal Health Requirements can be found on the NYS Ag & Markets website at the following link:
  • For assistance with your NYS Fair Entry Registration, please review NYS Fair Animal Science Entry Procedures or contact your local CCE Association.

Contest Rules and Premium Books

Official NYS Fair contest rules, information, schedule and Premium books are updated regularly. Exhibitors should regularly consult the NYS Fair How to Enter website for the most recent changes and deadlines. Youth exhibitors should contact their local CCE Association before entering to verify eligibility to participate at the State Fair and follow carefully any instructions provided.

Youth Rabbit and Cavy Exhibitor Information

Youth Rabbit Events are held in the Youth Arena (near the 4-H Horse stalls and FFA building) -- NOT in the Poultry Building with the Open Show Rabbits. Become familiar with the NYS Fairground Maps.

4-H educators submitting entries in New York State Fair Youth Rabbit and Cavy Events must ensure that each exhibitor and his/her family, volunteer leaders and any other persons supervising exhibitors, read and become familiar with the rules that follow as well as the rules and regulations published in the Youth Department 51 Animal Science Premium Book (specifically Section F). For a downloadable copy see the NYS Fair How to Enter webpage. The premium book is listed under Youth Livestock, under General Information and Rules. New in 2019 is an exhibition class for Rabbit Hopping and Agility immediately following the breed show. For more details see the NJ Rabbit Hopping and Agility Guidelines and Competition Rules.

General Information:

  • Bring the filled out "Day of Show Entry" form, downloadable from NYS 4-H Animal Science Programs State Fair Entry Forms webpage, with you to the health check. There is no limit on the number of rabbits and cavies that can be exhibited; however, only 1 per class per breed is allowed.
  • Public rabbit/cavy sales are not allowed.  The State Fair requires sellers to have sales permits.
  • Negative public responses about breeding rabbits in or near the Youth Arena require us to strongly discourage the breeding of rabbits at the State Fair.
  • All exhibitors are expected to select and enter animals that are in the best condition at the time of the State Fair. There is no fur class. We will be using ear tattoo numbers rather than coop numbers, so please make sure some combination of numbers/letters can be easily read in the left ear, not necessarily permanent.
  • Cavies will again be judged.  If you have a cavy, please mark Class 715 on the exhibitor entry form. There will be a “Day of Show” entry form available at the registration desk at the show. Cavies need tag numbers written on tape applied to ear. Please bring your own tape.
  • Each county with youth taking part in the Decathlon is expected to provide 1 adult for every 4 youth participating. Volunteers ask questions at the various stations throughout the contest. All volunteers are asked to remain at their station until all rounds are completed. Adults will also be needed to help record information on Show Day.
  • Pet Care Class: On your entry forms, remember that the Pet Care Class is for 4-H project rabbits that are of unknown or mixed breed origin and which, therefore, cannot be shown in any of the purebred classes. It is also open to rabbits with one or more disqualifications. Please mark "Pet Care Class" on your entry form if your rabbit qualifies for Pet Care Class.
  • Youth Breed Show  - The form requires the name of the breed and variety=Color.
  • Good Sportsmanship is expected at all events. The superintendent may dismiss youth who show poor conduct or disrespectful behavior to any youth or adult.

Division Definitions:

Novice competitors must be at least 8 and in 3rd grade by January 1 of the current year and less than 19 years of age on January 1 of the current year. This must also be their first time competing in the contest at state fair.

New Rule Change made in 2007: Senior Division includes all youths who are 15 and less than 19 on January 1 of current year. Junior Division includes all eligible youths 14 and under on January 1 of current year.

The Cavy Science Decathlon will have 2 Divisions. Junior and Senior. The rules concerning what division the competitor should enter are the same as the Rabbit Decathlon. This contest will be held on the same day as the Rabbit Science Decathlon. Every participant will be scheduled to go to each station just as they do for rabbits. Participants may judge a class of cavies only. Cavy participants may enter as teams or individuals. Novice (1st time participants) may enter Junior division.

Other Information:

  • The Rabbit and Cavy Breed Shows will be on Saturday, August 31. The Decathlon Contest will be on Sunday, Sept. 1. There will be 3 judges judging simultaneously, like an ARBA show. Stay alert!! Each class will be called only once so you must listen and watch when your breed is on the table. There will be no break between morning breeds and afternoon breeds. The most populous breeds start at 10 a.m.
  • Only exhibitors are allowed in the show ring during any event. Youth are expected to bring their own animals to the table for any contest/breed class. If they are already at one table during the breed show when a second animal of theirs is needed at another table, another registered youth should be asked to bring the second animal to the appropriate table.
  • Registration - Please note, all exhibitors for the Youth Rabbit and Cavy Show are expected to register between 8-9:45 am.
  • Judging is planned in this order. Cavies first. Pet Class to follow. Then all Rabbit Breeds will be evaluated (with most populous first). No formal lunch break is planned. Exhibitors need to be prepared to go to the next available judge to make the judge’s time efficient.

Care of Animals:

  • All rabbits and cavies should be offered water throughout the day.
  • As always, youth are expected to treat their animals humanely.
  • Any perceived infractions should be reported immediately to the Superintendent.
  • Show management is not responsible for animals and equipment remaining in Youth Arena after 5 pm on Sunday.
  1. All New York State Dept. 51 entries must be quality endorsed by a 4-H Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator or by an Agricultural Education (FFA) Advisor or by an authorized representative of a qualified related youth organization before they can be accepted by the NYS Fair. 4-H’ers may send their entries directly to the Fair as soon as the entry bears the endorsement of a county Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator or other party designated by Cornell Cooperative Extension to endorse its entries. In no case will an entry be accepted after the deadline. 
  2. There is no limit on the number of animals that can be exhibited.  However, each is allowed to enter only 1 animal in each class in each breed– rabbits and cavies.
  3.  In situations where Cornell Cooperative Extension entries cannot be finalized until after the State Fair entry deadline, ALL potential entries should be entered by the deadline and the State Fair Entry Dept. should be notified of scratches prior to the start of the Fair.
  4. All Youth Rabbits and Cavies must conform to the rules and regulations of the Livestock Health Requirements as determined by the Department of Agriculture and Markets printed at the beginning of the catalog.  All Youth Rabbits and Cavies must go through a compulsory health check at registration before they will be allowed to show.
    • Each animal only needs to be health checked once, upon arrival (unless the animal travels home and back for each day).
    • All rabbits and cavies must be health checked.  4-H standards of health may be stricter than American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) requirements.
    • Under adult supervision, youth may be health checking animals.  These youth will be experienced rabbit raisers and have had prior training.
    • Animals not passing the health check will need to be housed in a specially designated area until it is possible to bring them home.
  5. ​​​​​Rabbits and cavies must be brought to the fair in a suitable carrying case/cage.  Each exhibitor must assume complete responsibility for his or her animal(s) while at the show.  The State Fair or designated superintendent assumes no responsibility for animals brought to the show or exhibited.
  6. Total State Fair Youth Rabbit and Cavy Events last two days.  Exhibitors who wish to participate in events on both Saturday and Sunday may wish to house their rabbits and/or cavies overnight (Friday and Saturday night).  Space is available in the Youth Arena and, permission from the superintendent, rabbits and cavies may be housed there. Animal cages, feed, etc. are to be supplied by the exhibitors. 
  7. All Youth Rabbit and Cavy Events will be held in the Youth Arena.  (This is not the Poultry Building where the Open Show Rabbits are housed.)
  8. Only exhibitors will be allowed in the show arena during any event.  Youth are expected to bring their own rabbits and cavies to the table for any contest/breed class.  If they are already at one table during the breed show when a second animal of theirs is needed at another table, another youth should be asked to bring the second animal to the appropriate table.
  9. Show coats are not required.  Expected attire will include either a long sleeve show coat of any color OR a long sleeve collared white button shirt.
  10. Breed Show
    • Rabbits and Cavies will be judged on the Danish System in each class, but American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) standards will be followed.
    • The Best of Breed and Reserve Best of Breed will be selected from the class winners.  The owners of the Best of Breed winners are expected to bring their animal back to the show table at the completion of the judging for the selection of Best Reserve in Show and Best in Show.
    • Cavy exhibitors will be awarded ribbons on the Danish System (Blue, Red, White).
    •  All exhibitors must register on the day of the show at the Youth Arena.  Tattoos in the left ear will be required.
    • The rabbit/cavy show will begin at 10 a.m.  There will be NO “break” during the show.  Breeds will be judged beginning with the most populous breed exhibited.
    • Rabbits housed and shown in Open classes may be shown in Youth classes, but must comply with entry and registration procedures as stated above, and with Open Class rules.


This show will be a day of entry showing.  In order for a youth to participate in breed show classes, he/she must be entered by the deadline.  The actual rabbits to be shown do not need to be entered until the day of the show.  This will allow the youth to evaluate his/her rabbits and cavies closer to show day and decide which animals are in the best condition to bring to the fair.  County requirements must be met where applicable. 

Section FA – Cavy Classes:

  • Senior – more than 2 lbs.
  • Intermediate – less than 6 mos; 1 lb. 6 oz. to 2 lbs.
  • Junior – less than 4 mos; less than 1 lb. 6 oz.

Section FB – 4-H Pet Care Project Rabbit

  • Class No. 650 (Bucks) 
  • Class No. 651 (Does)

This class is for 4-H project rabbits that are of unknown or mixed breed origin and which, therefore, cannot be shown in any of the purebred classes.  Also open to pet rabbits with one or more disqualifications.

Section FC – Wool Breed Classes

  • Senior Bucks – over 6 mos.
  • Senior Does – over 6 mos.
  • Junior Bucks – under 6 mos., but at least 3 mos.
  • Junior Does – under 6 mos., but at least 3 mos.

Section FD  - Commercial Breed Classes

  • Senior Bucks – over 8 mos.
  • Senior Does – over 8 mos.
  • Intermediate Bucks – 6-8 mos.
  • Intermediate Does – 6-8 mos.
  • Junior Bucks – under 6 mos., but at least 3 mos.
  • Junior Does – under 6 mos., but at least 3 mos.

Section FE – Fancy Breed Classes

  • Senior Bucks – over 6 mos.
  • Senior Does – over 6 mos.
  • Junior Bucks – under 6 mos., but at least 3 mos.
  • Junior Does – under 6 mos., but at least 3 mos.

Things to Do Prior to the Fair:

  • You and your animals must have been properly entered by August 2, 2024. Please be sure to read the Youth Department Animal Science Premium Book. There are three sections to review (pages pertaining to ALL youth entries, especially note exhibitor age requirements; Department 51 pertains to all animal science exhibitors; the Youth Rabbit (Section F) is specific to youth rabbit and cavy exhibitors).
  • Request and obtain exhibitor passes and parking permits through your County 4-H office. Parking spots for RV's may be available. Check with State Fair Entry Department.
  • Plan a special public rabbit exhibit. Tables are available on a first come, first served basis.

Special needs participants - Please inform the superintendent about participants with special needs. We do not wish to draw attention to these participants, but will offer special help in the areas where needed.  A short note describing the assistance needed on the exhibitor’s entry form will help contest coordinators plan. Officials will do the best they can to accommodate if notified prior to entry deadline of August 12.

What to Bring to the Fair:

  • Your rabbit(s) and cavies in appropriate cages!!
  • Your Day of Show entry form sheet filled out.
  • Feed, feed dish and water dish.
  • Grooming equipment.
  • Show clothes. Show coats are not required. Expected attire will include either a long sleeve show coat of any color OR a long sleeve collared white button shirt.
  • Money for incidentals.
  • County banner to hang near where your county is sitting in the bleachers.


  • Rabbits and Cavies may be housed overnight in the Youth Arena on Friday night and/or Saturday night. Please do not arrive earlier than 5:00 pm on Friday. No animals may be left in the Youth Arena Sunday night. You are completely responsible for your own animals.

What to do upon arrival:

  • Check in at the Youth Arena. (Early arrivals must wait until 7:00 pm to check in on Friday). Until your Rabbit/Cavy has been health checked, do not place your Rabbit/Cavy in the bleacher area.  The "holding area" for unchecked rabbits is the Youth Arena floor by the large doors closest to the horse rings.
  • Bring Complete Entry Form to Health Check
  • Rabbit health check-in times: - Friday, August 30 from 7:00 to 9:30 pm and Saturday, August 31 from 8:00 to 9:45 am.  No health checks on Sunday.
  • All sick animals will be isolated from others. Please consider bringing rabbits in separate carriers. Otherwise all animals in a carrier with ill animals will be isolated.
  • Each animal must be housed in an appropriate carrier with enough room for the rabbit or cavy and a leak proof tray under the carrier. The carrier must be tagged with the name of the exhibitor, county, where the exhibitor is sleeping (dorm, specific trailer, etc.) and breed(s) of animal. Be sure to place the tag on or near the carrier in a location safe from your animal’s curiosity (and teeth!!).
  • If you are sleeping in the Youth Building Dorm, check in as soon as possible after arriving at the fair.  No exhibitors are allowed to sleep in the youth arena. Youth must be properly registered by county 4-H office personnel.  
  • Show catalogs will be available on Saturday. Since this is a "day of show entry", the catalog will only contain a list of exhibitors.

For more information

Molly Hilderbrant

NYS Fair Youth Rabbit Superintendent

mollyhilderbrant [at] (mollyhilderbrant[at]yahoo[dot]com)