Cows Create Careers

In Term 2 this year, the Year 9/10 Animal and Plant Production class looked after young dairy calves as part of the Cows Create Careers program. The students worked in teams of three or four to ensure that their designated calf was bottle fed every morning and afternoon, seven days of the week for three weeks. They learned how to make up milk to a set recipe, weigh and feed the calves and how important it is to do everything hygienically. They also learned what to do when a calf is not thriving, taking its temperature, and treating scours.

As part of the project, each team of students make a video to show at least one aspect of what they have learnt, they take a creative team photo with their calf, and they also have to write a letter.

Across the state, the program runs in both Term 2 and Term 3, broken down into regions. We compete in the Senior Section (Years 9-11) within the Gippsland Region. This year only one team from each school was able to compete for a place. The students showed their videos, and the class voted on which one they thought was the best to be put forward from Woodleigh.

Due to Covid restrictions, our presentation day ran on Friday, November 12, over Zoom. The students enjoyed several activities and were pleasantly surprised at the end of the session to learn that they had won the FIRST prize! Each student in the winning team, named Udder Chaos, will receive a $50 i-Tunes voucher, and the school will win $500 as the Winning School for the region.

Excerpts from student letters:

We enjoyed this project and felt it was an excellent experience to have to learn about an industry you wouldn’t usually know anything about at school. We think actually having the calves made the project even more unique than not having calves at our school. We also feel it helped show how the dairy industry is much further advanced than you would think it is and that there is plenty of room for growth and jobs from dairy technicians to manually milking the cows. There are plenty of different jobs. It was a great experience from school that we won’t forget.

This term, I have learnt so much about cows. My group and I loved taking care of Moxy, he was very calm and friendly, and we enjoyed spending time with him. While some of the other calves were kind of crazy, I may be biased, but I think Moxy was the best of them all!

The last three weeks was a crazy learning experience. We probably learnt something new about calf rearing every day. We took care of the small red Jersey calf, Red, who unfortunately became sick.

Our group loved being around the calves. They all had unique personalities and were absolutely adorable. Red was gorgeous. He was very friendly and loved a cuddle. We enjoyed learning about the dairy industry and how the farmers are working to be eco-friendly.

Thank you so much again. We will cherish the memories of this experience for the rest of our lives.

We did not know what to expect coming into this program but are so happy that we did it, and if we could do this program again, we would do it in a heartbeat. We enjoyed looking after Norbit. He made it fun. You would get mad at Norbit every now and then because he was hard to get on the scales, but you could never stay mad at him when he has a face like he does. He was so friendly and loving when we went up to see him accepting pats with open hooves. We had so many fun times with him. Sometimes he would run around crazy, and it was really funny because he would look like he was hopping around. We enjoyed feeling a part of a team and truly being in control of looking after a cute, cuddly calf. It felt as if we were losing a friend when we said goodbye to him. We have learned much more than we thought we would with this experience, and it would have to be in the top things we’ve done here at Woodleigh. Cody H, Archie McC, Maya S. Y9