By: Emily Burns
I headed into the Animal Science Arena thinking it was going to be like every other Animal Science lab, but it was the dairy lab. This was by far my favorite lab of the year, and I am very glad I got the opportunity to participate in the activities we did. As an Agriscience Education major, we have to take a variety of classes so we are able to teach different subjects in the classroom. Animal Science 2200.01 is one of the classes we are required to take; it is the lab that goes with the lecture.
In our lab we did activities with each animal Ohio State has: sheep, pigs, horses, and dairy and beef cattle. Each lab we got the chance to have hands on experience with the animals and other activities. One activity we did was identified and labeled parts of the udder. Then, we got to milk a cow by hand. This was fun, especially because I had worked on a dairy farm the summer before and was starting to miss the farm. When we were milking the cow we collected a sample of the milk to test for mastitis, a bacterial infection that some cows get in the udder. I really enjoyed doing the experiment because it was interesting to me to see the reaction the milk had to the chemical.
The final part of the lab was looking inside the rumen of a cannulated cow. A cannulated cow is a cow that has a hole in its side for researchers to observe the rumen, one of the four cavities of a cow’s stomach. We all had the opportunity to reach our whole arm into the cow and pull out some liquid content and look at it under the microscope. I was the lucky one to go first and got to scoop out the material for my group. I put my arm in the hole all the way to my shoulder. Once I was at the bottom of the rumen I could smell the fermenting feed and feel the warmth. The content was slimy, mostly liquid, and very warm. When we observed the content under the microscope, we saw the tiny microorganisms that break down food swimming around. It was a once in a lifetime experience I am very glad I got.
I had a good time in the other labs, working with animals, doing activities, and learning by doing. However, out of all the labs, the dairy lab was my favorite. I am very excited for my other labs I get to do in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in the next few years.
Emily wrote this blog post as part of an in class assignment for the agricultural communication 2367 class. All opinions are her own.