A Crash Course in Cow Care

Officially, the three-day seminar tailored to students getting ready to start their first year at Penn Vet, is called “Introduction to Dairy Production Systems.” But it’s more commonly known as, “I’ve Never Touched A Cow, But I Want To.”

The immersion program takes place in mid-August at Marshak Dairy, located at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center campus. Students who volunteer to attend the seminar get a crash course in the basics of dairy production, the role veterinarians play in keeping herds healthy, and key concepts of the dairy farm business, including milk production and processing.

The hands-on portion of the seminar involves milking the cows, doing barn maintenance, and feeding calves. This year, students had the opportunity to feed a calf that was only a couple of hours old.

For many students, the cow class is the first time they have ever been around farm animals or had anything to do with the food animal industry.

Text by Tanya Barrientos
Video by Kurtis Sensenig