Thursday, August 21, 2008


So! Today I learned how to milk a cow! Unfortunately it wasn't quite as cool as what I originally thought milking cows would be (i.e. sitting on a bucket beside the cow and manually squirting milk into a bucket, but it was still pretty neat.

What we actually did was learn to use a milking parlour, which is this room where you have (in this case) two rows of cows that file into two chutes on either side, and go up to the individual feeding troughs, with their back ends towards the middle of the room. They're electronically identified by their collars, and are fed a certain amount of food.

A Picture of the Milking Parlour, taken from the R(D)SVS website
So once the cows are up in position, you, the milker, are below them in the sort of pit-ish area you can see above. There are machines that you fit on the cows udder, and it milks them, and then comes off when it detects the milk flow has stopped. It's pretty much all automated, and the machines report to a database where each cow's milk is measured and the machines can also tell if the cow has mastitis (udder infection) or if it's on antibiotics and can't have its milk thrown in with the rest.

All the while, while this is happening, the cows are pooing and urinating whenever they so desire, and woe betide you if you happen to be trying to fit a milking apparatus on the cow as it desides it needs to go, because you're basically standing right in the danger zone when you're puting the milker on.

Anyway, so after an hour of this, I have a whole different perspective of where milk comes from. I know it's pasteurized and everything, but even so, it's a pretty disgusting and unclean process.

So other than that, this week has been filled with mainly lectures and dissections, and also practical "clean" classes where we look at radiographs and bones and things. I like these clean classes the best, and I think one of the things I'm very interested in specializing in would be radiography, because I just think it's so cool.

I also like "clean" labs because I get to play.
Me checking out a radiograph of a dog skull
The other cool thing we did, which I didn't take any pictures of, was our small animal handling practical. We went out to Oatridge College, which is sort of in the middle of nowhere, and played with rabbits, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, and chinchillas in order to get familiar with handling them and picking them up properly.

In other news, I think I'm getting a cold, which distresses me a bit, but fortunately it's almost the weekend, and I can relax a bit.

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