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~*Holly*~
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Volunteer Note: Hi there, welcome to :tsr:. This thread is pretty old now, if you want to ask a question to our brilliant Vet student community then you can start a new thread here.

After much persistence, I have finally secured myself some work experience on a dairy farm for next week (half-term holidays).

I'm very, very excited, but I haven't really had that much experience with cattle and I'm not really sure what's expected of me (I don't want to look stupid/incompetent in front of the farmer) so basically, I was just wondering if anyone had a few hints and tips about what's expected.

Thanks very much.
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joshhardwick81
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Hi Holly
It depends on the farm as to exactly what you'll be doing, but mostly it'll be assisting with morning/afternoon milkings and then any odd jobs that need doing around the farm. Some farmers will let you just come for morning and afternoon milkings and go home in the day- depends on how much other stuff there is to do I guess.

Don't worry about looking stupid/incompetent in front of the farmer, the only time farmers seem to get pissed off is when you don't use your common sense (or when a farmer's view about what constitutes common sense differs from what you or I would consider common sense!) No farmer will get pissed off with you because you're inexperienced, they wouldn't take work experience if they weren't willing to teach you a thing or two!

Above all enjoy it, and its probably a good idea to write down a few things when you get home each day about what you've seen/done/learned etc. You'll need to call on this info when you're interviewed by the vet schools, and it makes it much easier to prepare for interviews when you've got a few notes from your placements.

I say that from hindsight of course, typical disorganised me didn't do that.
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kookabura
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Depending on the set up of the milking parlour, expect to potentially get covered in water/cow poo/urine etc. Many of them tend to have a sunken pit that the milkers stand in, with the cows above them. So waterproofs and wellies are very useful! You can just hose them down when you are finished.

Basic common sense the same as any farm...if you don't know...ask, rather than guess and screw something up. One important example from a farm I was on was cows had been dried off from their previous milking with antibiotics, so the first few times they were milked the next time around the milk isn't allowed to go into the main tank for human consumption, it has to be 'dumped'. These cows had coloured tape around their tails. Apparently a vet student before had thought they had worked out the colour code system of tape and knew which cow could go into the main tank. They screwed it up and antibiotic contaminated milk went into the main tank. Which meant all the milk so far that day had to be dumped. Expensive screw up, and going to really annoy farmers! So for the sake of checking, ask and double check if you're not sure, better doing that than messing things up!

Beware of the size of cows! Generally speaking they are pretty docile, but just being aware of what it happening, avoid getting too close and getting your feet trodden on. Avoid getting yourself in a position between a cow and a wall and getting squished. Being careful when milking to avoid putting your arms between bars so they will get caught if a cow moves. That's also the kind of stuff that frustrates farmers, when they have to constantly be watching students to tell them not to stand there etc.

If you want to know more before you go, look up a bit about dairy farming on the internet so you will understand more about the production cycle of inseminating, drying off, calving, lactation etc.

Have a good time
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charlottematthews
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I'd recommend reading up a bit on mastitis and bovine TB as it will impress the farmer and it'll give you something to talk about.
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Angry cucumber
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Hi Holly,

I have over 3 months dairy experience so I should know something on this topic!

I really wouldn't worry about being incompotent; because as long as you have some hand eye co-ordination and have some common sense, everything will be fine.

As for tips - Wear overalls and Steel toe capped wellies - cows weigh a lot and are quite clumsy when they barge past!. Having one stand on your toe is painful to say the least!!

-Don't walk within a couple of feet of a cows behind if you can avoid it, urine and faeces are not the most pleasant thing to have on your overalls. Also cows kick hard and fast from behind, this hurts....... a lot.

- Calves after a couple of weeks of age have teeth - small and sharp - don't put your fingers in their mouths if you can help it! (Bottle feeding calves is the most likely time this will happen.) Calves are playful, if you get an opportunity Play! (Other than chicks and ducklings; calves are my favourite!)

- Take notes of anything interesting you see after every day - some of it may well come up at interview!

- Finally enjoy - I love dairying and I'm sure you will to!




P.s. Prepare for aching; from muscles, you had no knowledge you ever had! Enjoy!
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Grace613
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Does anyone know of any dairy farms that will do work experience in Berkshire?? I would really like to get something organised for next February prefrably Thanks!
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SilverstarDJ
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(Original post by Grace613)
Does anyone know of any dairy farms that will do work experience in Berkshire?? I would really like to get something organised for next February prefrably Thanks!
The university of Reading has a pretty big dairy herd (forgot the farm name, think it was called Cedar). Not been there on work experience myself but I've been there on a vet visit. They are probably used to students coming onto the farm from their animal sciences course etc. so might be worth asking. I'm afraid I don't know of any others!
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Little Highland
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Hey guys, I've got some dairy work experience coming up and I need to get some overalls. I think I'll invest in a decent one for the long term, can anyone suggest any (that can come in a womans 10) for me please? Thanks
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SilverstarDJ
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(Original post by Little Highland)
Hey guys, I've got some dairy work experience coming up and I need to get some overalls. I think I'll invest in a decent one for the long term, can anyone suggest any (that can come in a womans 10) for me please? Thanks
I've only every bought men's overalls if I am honest. My current overalls I have are Dickies make (http://www.dickiesworkwear.com/en/wo...front-coverall) and they seem pretty hard wearing. For chest size I measured with a tape measure across the widest part of my boobs and they seem to be the right size, if only slightly broad at the shoulders.

I generally didn't wear overalls at my summer farm placements if I am honest - they are too hot to work in especially when running after livestock !
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Little Highland
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(Original post by SilverstarDJ)
I've only every bought men's overalls if I am honest. My current overalls I have are Dickies make (http://www.dickiesworkwear.com/en/wo...front-coverall) and they seem pretty hard wearing. For chest size I measured with a tape measure across the widest part of my boobs and they seem to be the right size, if only slightly broad at the shoulders.

I generally didn't wear overalls at my summer farm placements if I am honest - they are too hot to work in especially when running after livestock !
Oh thanks, I'd seen and liked those so I'll probably go for them. I didn't really think I'd need them but I asked the farmer just in case and he said it would he better if I did. I thought along the same lines as you though, at least none of the cows will care if I get a bit sweaty. Thanks
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lturner777
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HI, long shot but does anyone know of any dairy farms in the Worcestershire area? Desperately in need of some dairy work experience, thanks
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Disco_dave_S
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(Original post by lturner777)
HI, long shot but does anyone know of any dairy farms in the Worcestershire area? Desperately in need of some dairy work experience, thanks
Heya,

I don't know of any but I do know of a cheeky trick - google 'ice cream farm worcestershire' and/or 'cheese farm worcestershire'. I just gave it a quick go and by the looks of it there should be 5-10 farms from the list to ring up! Not many farms advertise, but these have to as they are selling their own produce… often even if they aren't willing they will know another farmer who might, and so on until you should find someone. You get sneaky when finding work exp!
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henrypotter
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If you're trying to get a cow in the crush, don't stand in front of it, stand away from the crush so that the cow runs forward! Textbook but something that annoyingly people often forget
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Nutterfly
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(Original post by lturner777)
HI, long shot but does anyone know of any dairy farms in the Worcestershire area? Desperately in need of some dairy work experience, thanks
I know a lovely one in Tewkesbury in Glocestershire but on the Worc border you should be able to find loads closer but if not can give you contact details.
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Lauren1999
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Hi,

I'm in year 12 and was wondering how people manage to get work experience with large animal vets as every one that I have contacted has said that they will only take uni students or are uninsured for someone who isn't qualified. However Liverpool Uni ask for 2 weeks of work experience with a large animal vet, so it must be possible, right? Please could someone give me some advice?

Thanks!
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Little Tail Chaser
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(Original post by Lauren1999)
Hi,

I'm in year 12 and was wondering how people manage to get work experience with large animal vets as every one that I have contacted has said that they will only take uni students or are uninsured for someone who isn't qualified. However Liverpool Uni ask for 2 weeks of work experience with a large animal vet, so it must be possible, right? Please could someone give me some advice?

Thanks!
It's tough, but persistence is key. Keep trying, I got mine by literally working my way through the RCVS's Find A Vet page and sending emails to every place. Few replied, and only one could offer me anything. Not sure where you are but if you're able to travel I can give you the details of an equine and farm place in Norfolk that offers work experience for under 18s? Lovely place with really friendly vets and there's a very reasonably priced B&B a 20 min walk away.

To clarify, Liverpool don't ask for two weeks with a large animal vet; they ask for four weeks at a minimum of two practices, one small and one large. So you can get away with less large animal work if you do more with smallies. I got a Liv offer with only one week of LA vet
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Lauren1999
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(Original post by Little Tail Chaser)
It's tough, but persistence is key. Keep trying, I got mine by literally working my way through the RCVS's Find A Vet page and sending emails to every place. Few replied, and only one could offer me anything. Not sure where you are but if you're able to travel I can give you the details of an equine and farm place in Norfolk that offers work experience for under 18s? Lovely place with really friendly vets and there's a very reasonably priced B&B a 20 min walk away.

To clarify, Liverpool don't ask for two weeks with a large animal vet; they ask for four weeks at a minimum of two practices, one small and one large. So you can get away with less large animal work if you do more with smallies. I got a Liv offer with only one week of LA vet
Thank you that's helpful and reassuring to know that persistence can work. Yes please to the name of the place in Norfolk, as although I live in Herts we regularly visit Norfolk so I would be interested.
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Little Tail Chaser
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(Original post by Lauren1999)
Thank you that's helpful and reassuring to know that persistence can work. Yes please to the name of the place in Norfolk, as although I live in Herts we regularly visit Norfolk so I would be interested.
No problem, I've dropped you a PM
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coupezaj
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Could you please send it to me also. I'm struggling to find a LA placement. I thought I had one but when I arrived they wouldn't take me on call out due to insurance issues.

Thanks
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Little Tail Chaser
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(Original post by coupezaj)
Could you please send it to me also. I'm struggling to find a LA placement. I thought I had one but when I arrived they wouldn't take me on call out due to insurance issues.

Thanks
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