On a freezing cold day, a group of dedicated Loreto animal lovers set off across the Pennines to visit Whirlow Hall Farm on the outskirts of Sheffield, kitted out with their wellies and woolly hats. Many of the students are hoping to become vets, others are wanting animal care careers and yet others are interested in farm management or crop production. The weather conditions certainly brought it home that working on a farm can be very challenging!
The Whirlow Hall charity runs a working farm, open to visitors, and students were able to experience animal husbandry, crop care and learn about the role of the veterinarian on a farm. There were plenty of jobs to be done during the day, some very messy indeed, as well as questions to answer and staff to quiz. A variety of large and small farm animals were seen at close range and students were able to find out what is involved in caring for these in terms of productivity as well as visitor attractions. No doubt the highlight of the trip was seeing lambs born in the lambing barn. Students were impressed by how well the shepherd knew his sheep. Lambing is actually a lot more complicated than it seems and the level of intervention and technical support is much greater than we sometimes think when we see lambs gambolling in the fields in the warm sunshine.
Thawing out in the minibus on the way home, somewhat more pungent and rather less sweet smelling than at the start of the day, students agreed it had been a great trip and given them a lot to think about in terms of making successful applications for university courses.