09 April 2011

Cows, cows, everywhere.

Got back to London from my dairy placement yesterday afternoon. I was with a herd of around 500 cows in Berkshire. I milked, I got peed on, power-washed a shit scraper (literally a tractor with a scraper attachment for scraping up shit), mended fences, got sunburned, drove a tractor, herded cows...you know. Dairy farming stuff. For 12 days.

I was skeptical at first, because I wasn't really sure what to expect from the placement. I've been on the edge of re-thinking what I'd like to do as a vet, whether it be just equine or maybe large animal, and I was hoping that spending two week with cows would help me make a decision. Not that I really need to make the decision now, since I still have 3 years to go to do that, but to start acquainting myself to the idea of possibly expanding what I want to do.

To be honest, I think I fell in love. I mean, I don't like dairy farming. It's hard, long hours, you get kicked in the face sometimes (thankfully I avoided that one), you get pissed on, shit on, etc etc ad nauseum. But the cows. Oh, the cows. They are such curious creatures, with such expressive eyes. My favorite part of the placement was when I would go to check on the heifers that were in calf for the first time (they were out on grass 24/7). They'd surround me, and sniff, and look at me as if to say "So what do you have for me?" and GOD it was adorable. I got licked in the face a few times, I had a cow's head on my shoulder...I mean, they are just too cute. Once, when I was out checking them with M. (who works there), they surrounded the Kubota we drove in on while we were out of it checking their feet, udders, etc. He turned to me and said, "You know, give them a wrench and a couple of screwdrivers and I bet they could take that thing apart." I'm inclined to agree with him.

Anyway, to say I had a great time on placement is an understatement. I was miserable the first few days because I was out of my comfort zone, but after that, it really was a great placement. And I had the BEST weather for it; sunny and in the teens (in Celsius) for most of the 12 days I was there.

So now, I've got a few days off to recuperate, wash clothes, clean, eat real food (I relied on microwave meals while I was there), and prepare for my lambing placement. This holiday is just flying by!

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