Wade H. Rice, 81, a poultry specialist for the University of Maryland for more than 40 years and a national judge for turkey shows, died of cancer Wednesday at the Manor Care Nursing Home in Largo.

Mr. Rice was an associate professor in the poultry science department of the university's Cooperative Extension Service when he retired in 1961.

He served as secretary of the Maryland State Poultry Council from 1934 to 1953.

Mr. Rice taught poultry husbandry in the Rural Women's Short Course program at a University of Maryland and was a consultant to 4-H and Future Farmers of America groups. He judged turkey shows throughout the United States.

In 1945 and 1946, while on leave from the university, he helped establish the poultry processing plant in Salisbury of the Southern States regional farmers cooperative.

Mr. Rice had operated a horticultural nursery at his Upper Marlboro home since retiring.

He was a native of Elm City, N.C., and a graduate of the University of North Carolina.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Hyattsville, a past master of the Birmingham Masonic Lodge No. 188 and a charter member of the Potomac Valley Chapter of the American Camellia Society.

Survivors include his wife, Hasaleah Y., a daughter, Carolynn, and a son, Wade Jr., all of Upper Marlboro; another son, James T., of Durham, N.C., two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.