Four Things I Didn’t Expect to Learn the First Time I Had to Stick My Hand up a Cow’s Butt

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1. Animal agriculture is much more scientifically based than most general consumers realize. Believe it or not, there is scientific explanation for nearly every practice used in farming today (discounting my crazy uncle who swears that jumping backwards six times and howling at the moon will absolutely guarantee a bull calf). There is such a depth of scientific knowledge regarding animal agriculture at our fingertips. All it takes is a little curiosity and willingness discover new facts!

2. I never thought I’d be so excited to be in this particular position, but I’m so glad I am! I have learned so much through hands-on experience with cattle, whether that’s “sticking my hand up a cow’s butt” to check for pregnancy, or conducting a breeding soundness exam. Animal practices are completely fascinating, and I can’t wait to apply my knowledge to future careers and endeavors.

3. You can learn a lot from the back end of a cow. Besides quickly learning that cow poop stains (still haven’t figured out a good method to get it out of my clothes), being behind a cow tells you a lot about how that cow is feeling. Perhaps even more than being at the front end of the cow. You can understand many aspects of her body’s health by checking her manure, noticing her temperature, and any potentially abnormal fluids appearing. Taking the time to notice these indicators can really help you out.

4. Maybe we should all stick our hands up a cow’s butt some time. Okay, maybe we don’t all have to go that far. The general idea is that we could all learn a lot from getting a more hands-on experience with the animal agriculture industry. However, if you’re ever given the chance – at least have an open mind!

A few of my cows on a snowy day. Photo by Erin McCarty




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