Milking their Education: Vet Tech Students Visit Dairy Farm
Published on November 8, 2013 by Scott Rudeen
Just as students walked up to see the birthing cow, the calf was born. Broadview University-Layton students in the veterinary technician class, Production Animals, were able to tour the feeding stalls, maternity wards, calf nursery, grain silos, and milking parlor of Gibson’s Green Acres Farms.
The hands-on experience brought the classroom alive, as students witnessed the rare opportunity to watch the calf enter the world. Students also had the opportunity to watch artificial insemination of female cows, venipuncture for pregnancy checks, and the immediate care of the calf that was born during the tour.
“We have many objectives on our syllabus to achieve through lecture,” said Jennifer Hatch, veterinary technician program chair. “This opportunity, however, provides a way for students to apply what they are learning in the classroom. It is cool to see the lightbulb moment where a student finally realizes what they have been taught is actually used in the real world.”
Not many people understand the behind-the-scenes process of getting milk on the table, but the vet tech students had the opportunity to learn firsthand. Students learned the proper nutrition for a milking cow, as Ron went into great detail about the total mixed rations fed at Green Acres Farm. In order to support the amount of milk production expected from a dairy cow, the cow needs nutrients all throughout the day.
The students also learned the normal body temperature of a cow (101.5 F), appropriate vaccinations and other preventative care required by dairy cattle, proper hoof care, and the important lifestyle of a dairy cow—eat, lay down, and produce milk.
“These cows are like my kids,” said Ron Gibson, owner of the dairy farm. Each of my cows is examined by my staff every single day and by a veterinarian every week to ensure that they are healthy.”
Ron also reviewed the business behind the dairy farm operations. He explained that it costs him $8-9 to feed each of his cows per day (multiply that by 1500 head of cattle). Currently each of his cows is producing approximately 85 pounds of milk, which is about 10 gallons, each day. His milk is then sold to Schreiber Foods to be made into cheese, and then sold to Costco, Walmart, Taco Bell, Subway, and other food stores in our community.
For more information on the veterinary technician program at Broadview University, please visit us online or call 1-877-480-3335.