From their very first year, students are able to spend time on the farms, working with cattle, sheep, horses, and pigs. They learn how to recognise healthy and sick animals; how to handle farm livestock; and how to manage herd and flock health to the very highest standards.
In later years of study, undergraduates spend significant amounts of time on the farms, continuing to improve their handling skills, as well as taking a more active role in veterinary care and livestock husbandry. They are also offered opportunities to take extra elective courses in farm-related topics.
Woodpark Farm’s Visitor Centre also provides educational opportunities to practising veterinary surgeons, to farmers, and to the general public – especially school parties – and organises a knowledge exchange programme to promote healthier and more productive farming across all species groups.
Wood Park Farm
Woodpark is our working dairy farm, accredited by Tesco as a Centre of Excellence. Set in 200 acres, the farm supports a closed herd of 185 milking cows, with an annual yield of 11,300 litres per cow, as well as 140 young-stock. Students are involved in the day-to-day running of the farm throughout their course, taking part in routine veterinary visits – including pregnancy diagnosis and lameness monitoring – as well as experiencing emergency veterinary work on the farm first hand.
In addition to educating veterinary students, the farm monitors all its animals closely. Data gathered is used extensively in teaching and research across a broad range of specialities, including animal welfare, nutrition, and productivity.
Ness Heath Farm
Ness Heath is our all-grass, mixed-stock farm, covering 120 acres. Breeding stock on the farm comprises 450 February-lambing ewes, with pedigree herds of 24 Hereford cows and 16 Gloucester Old Spot sows. Some of the grazing is shared with horses, further increasing the range of animals that veterinary students can become proficient at handling. The progeny of the breeding stock are reared to finishing, except in the case of some male Herefords which are sold on as store cattle. Lambs from the farms are sold in local markets, while pigs go on to supply local farm shops and specialist traditional-breed butchers.
As with Woodpark Farm, students are involved in the day-to-day work of Ness Heath Farm throughout their courses, enabling them, on this site, to experience all aspects of a wide range of livestock breeding, rearing, and finishing.
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