Members of the University of Delaware’s Animal Science Club volunteer at a local alumni’s farm every year. Mr. Steve Cook is a University of Delaware alumnus and in addition to teaching Agriculture Education at a local high school, runs Cook Family Farms. Mr. Cook is a great resource for Animal Science Club members. On our first trip of the semester, members helped dehorn calves, castrate piglets, and much more.
In the past we’ve helped vaccinate, ear tag, castrate calves, draw blood for pregnancy checks, and ultrasound and artificially inseminate pigs. We also help out with anything he needs done on the farm. For instance, on one of our past trips we built a tire wall and created an enclosure for the pigs to run around in. We have set up farrowing crates, cleaned the barn, practiced walking show cows, and put up barn siding for the winter. Mr. Cook is a very hands-on teacher—he tells us how to do something and throws you right into it! It is a great experience for the majority of our members who have not really worked on a farm before, and we always have a lot of fun volunteering together. In exchange for these great, practical experiences, we are giving back to the farm by helping out with all the tasks he needs to complete for the day.
While Animal Science Club participates in many service events and works really hard, we also plan a lot of fun, social events. For instance, thirty members took a trip to Cowtown Rodeo in New Jersey at the end of September. It was a fun social trip for the club members and a great way to get to know one another at the start of the year.
It was also a chance to experience a different aspect of livestock. Many of the members had never been to a rodeo before! We watched bull riding, calf roping, bronco riding, and barrel racing. Some of the members were shocked by what they saw, but many found it to be an interesting experience and the excitement of the crowd was contagious as riders managed to stay on the bucking bulls and beat the records of the other competitors. The club members got very involved and cheered on the competitors in each category-gasping in shock when a bull kicked off its rider, chasing him down, when a team missed the calf with their lasso by a close margin, or when a bull knocked down the fence before the round even started.
It was the last night of the rodeo, so the competition was fierce since the top scores would move on in the national circuit. One of the overall favorite events of the night was barrel racing. Everyone thought that the teamwork between the horse and rider was amazing and was probably one of the most difficult events because of the accuracy and skill required. The club members were impressed by the talent of the competitors as they whipped around barrels at top speed and they all cheered on their favorite riders as they raced to beat the clock. This was a great way to kick off a year of fun events for the Animal Science Club and we all had a great time!