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WHS Presents “Pig In the Classroom Project”

by Melanie Berndtson - April 14, 2022

The Wellsboro Agriscience Department has had a special guest the last few weeks as they hosted a pregnant pig for the third time, to have this animal farrow – or give birth in the classroom and provide this experience for the students and community to be a part of.

This project was headed this year by Stacey Coolidge, a parent of a Wellsboro Agriscience student. She made the arrangements to purchase a gilt – or a young female pig in the fall. This year, she thought it would be great for the animal science classes to see the breeding process of pigs along with the birthing process. Cookie the pig came to the classroom in October in hopes of having her bred artificially while animal science students learned about the process. Unfortunately, Cookie didn’t get bred in the classroom, but was brought to a farm where she was mated naturally by a boar.

In late February, Cookie was brought back to the agriscience room to give birth. Students were able to use technology like an ultrasound machine – to see the piglets. The ultrasound machine is supported by the Tioga County FFA Alumni chapter. A livestream camera was set up by the Wellsboro Technology Department so that students in other schools and community members could also watch the process.

When Cookie started birthing, there were some complications and a Veterinarian had to come and assist. She only had one piglet at the birth and it died before it could be delivered, so it ended up being absorbed back into her body.

Another agriscience student’s family – the Harlan family heard about the problems with the birth and they offered to bring in a pregnant gilt they had that was due to give birth. The classroom welcomed Daphne in at that time. Daphne gave birth on March 23rd and had 10 live piglets along with 4 others that did not survive the birth. She continued to stay in the agriscience classroom for about 3 weeks with her piglets while they were nursing.

Stacey Coolidge was excited about the opportunities that having a pig give birth in the classroom gives to students. It is an excellent way for students that are unfamiliar with agriculture to learn more about food animal production and for all visitors to be more well informed consumers. Many students are never exposed to some of the different practices used to raise pigs so it is a wonderful opportunity for students to ask questions and get rid of misconceptions they have about agriculture.

Students Emma Coolidge and Makalya McIntyre gave a student perspective on the project. Emma thought it was a great way to connect skills she developed in animal science class with the real world aspect of having the animal right there to learn from. She raises pigs at home, so is able to use some of the things she is learning in her own supervised agricultural experience program. Makayla was thrilled to have first hand experience learning about how baby pigs are processed and to see the technology that was used with the project.

This was a tremendous experience for students, staff and community alike again this year and Mrs. Berndtson was pleased to have the project continue. The learning experiences provided by this project are second to none. This years project especially showed that agriculture is not always perfect and problems do happen, However farmers are persistent and have to work through problems every day to help provide a safe and plentiful food supply for their communities.

Credits:

Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Melanie Berndtson
Guest(s): Stacey Coolidge, Emma Coolidge, Makayla McIntyre

Produced by Vogt Media
Home Page Sponsors: Garrisons Clothing, Arcadia Theatre

 
 
 
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