Having passed her exams, Rosie Perrett has done extramural studies at pig, dairy and poultry units and a small animal practice. She is now relaxing before she starts her third year at Liverpool.
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As I mentioned in my last diary (VR, July 16, 2016, vol 179, p ii), I stuck to my word, and didn't open my exam results until I returned home after my first day of pig placement. I was over the moon to find that I had passed. Needless to say, though, the first day of the placement wasn't overly productive on my part, because my results were constantly playing on my mind.
Once I finished all the placements for the summer I was able to fully appreciate my summer holiday and finally relax. As a family, we celebrated my mum's birthday in Greece (her birthday fell over our resit period so before I got my results, I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to go). I am also now able to enjoy socialising with friends without any guilt that I ought to be doing some work.
I spent four weeks on extramural studies placements. They were all very different and all smelly in their own right. Fortunately, most of my placements have been relatively local, but apparently pigs aren't that common in the south west. I ended up staying with a family friend, and was aware enough to leave my overalls and wellies outside so as to not bring the smell into the house. Having never worked with pigs before it was a real learning curve. I had been forewarned about the smell, but it really was as bad as people had said: it seemed to get into the back of my throat and stay there, and because it was an indoor unit, the smell lingered. I was only there for one week, but I certainly got an idea of the industry and husbandry of the pigs.
The following week I returned to ‘my’ dairy farm. I learnt such a large amount last time I was there and enjoyed working with the cows, so I decided to return. Despite the early mornings, I really enjoy milking and find it satisfying finishing three hours of milking before most people have even got to work.
My penultimate week was at a poultry farm. I can quite easily say this was the easiest of all my placements as pretty much everything was automated – the feed, the water, lighting and temperature. The farmer I was with kindly organised trips to a few other poultry farms to give me an idea of different production systems.
Following three smelly weeks, my car was struggling and, unusually, my parents didn't take me up on my offer to drive them to the pub. I've attempted airing it, but I think the smell has become ingrained into the seats!
My final placement was at a local small animal practice. It was slightly quieter, but I got the opportunity for some hands-on experience and, under the guidance and help of one of the vets, I was able to do my first castration. My dad didn't find this information as positive as my mum.
All the farm placements have helped me appreciate where my food has come from. However, for now, I am happy to be on my summer holidays.
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