Students at the University of Rhode Island are able to prepare themselves for a future in animal veterinary science careers thanks to resources like Peckham Farm.
Peckham Farm is located right next to URI’s Kingston campus on Peckham Farm Road. Farm Manager Nick Miniter is responsible for keeping the farm up to date and the animals healthy. He also has five students who work with him around the farm.
“I usually hire them as freshman and then have them until they’re seniors,” Miniter said. The five students, along with Miniter, are the ones who take part in assisting with the daily care of the animals.
Other than the five students who work for Miniter, many other students work with the animals as well. Students who are planning on going into the animal and veterinary science fields “spend a lot of their time down here,” according to Miniter.
One of the classes these students take provide them with the opportunity to raise their own chicken, according to Miniter. From the opportunities available on the farm animal science majors can gain a good amount of experience underneath their belts.
Rachael Demers is one of the students who works for Miniter. She is a pre-vet major who is looking to work with livestock.
“My experience has been increased because I have witnessed the birth of sheep, goats and piglets,” Demers said. “Also I have learned to breed animals and some of my vaccinations.”
For her, this job has given her lots of hands on experience, and it definitely helps that she’s passionate about what she’s doing.
“Honestly the best part is the animals besides the amount of information and experience I have gained, I truly love working with these animals,” Demers said.
However, students who aren’t majoring in animal veterinary science and have an interest in getting to know the animals better, or have any interest in the field, they can take AVS 101. By taking AVS 101 they’ll be able to spend one week on the farm, according to Miniter.
“I find it interesting since I’m studying about health studies for the human body and it’s also intriguing to see how similar some animals work compare to humans,” said Trent Davenport, a sophomore health studies major who has worked on the farm through AVS 101.
Lots of students who aren’t animal and veterinary science majors end up enjoying the class.
“I did it to fill the gen-ed requirement but I ended up liking it,” Davenport said.
All students who work with the animals, no matter the major, must complete training sessions before being allowed to handle the animals. The five students who work at Peckham Farm are required to go through a higher level of training because they come into more direct contact with the animals. Especially when it comes to the animals giving birth.
On the farm the baby animals are counted in herds of mature animals. According to Miniter, there are approximately “45 lambs, 25 sheep, 10 chickens, five goats and five cows.” He also said the farm is anticipating 10 cows next year.