A Message from the Dean—March 2017

Mar 22, 2017 Helene Dillard
Newborn animals herald springtime at UC Davis

A sure sign of spring at UC Davis is in the wind. It’s the sound of newborns in our animal facilities, a tradition that goes back more than a century to the founding of the University Farm when the first calves were born at the campus dairy.

The animals housed in our campus and off-campus facilities represent an indispensable educational resource for our students. The animals get only the best care from our faculty leaders and the 15 professional staff members and the 22 students who live at the facilities—a uniquely UC Davis experience. Many other students are involved with animal care in the various course labs, internships, and student clubs offered through the college and the Department of Animal Science.

Sasha Montero, a 4th-year animal biology major, holds piglet in a personality study as it reacts during the pig personality research in the Swine Facility on March 14, 2017. Professor Kristina Horback's research is on four-week-old piglets to access personality and the role that it plays in animal welfare.

Altogether we have eight animal units. Some only have newborns in the spring like the Horse Barn, while others bear their young mostly in the fall, like the Beef Barn. The goats and sheep produce their young in spring and fall, and the dairy cows, quail, chickens, lab animals, and pigs produce their progeny year round.

This spring we are expecting eight new foals in the Horse Barn, 15 calves in the Beef Barn, 41 calves in the Dairy Barn, 115 kid goats, 300 piglets, a covey of 250 quail, 800 baby chicks, 800 baby lab mice, and 26 lambs.

Keeping a watch over this menagerie is a big job and an important part of our college, so I want to give a shout-out to the many individuals who care for our animals 24/7 throughout the year. You manage an essential resource for UC Davis that ensures our classes and internships provide a real-world, hands-on experience for students destined for careers in animal science and veterinary medicine. Thank you!

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