Veterinary students, visitors learn at State Fair’s Birthing Pavilion
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Students and visitors alike are more knowledgeable about farm animals after stopping by the Birthing Pavilion at the Nebraska State Fair.
The pavilion is staffed by a rotating cast of veterinarians, including Barrett Huneke of St. Paul Veterinary Clinic.
“It is an amazing opportunity to get to see these kids with their eyes brighten up and see the baby piglet, the baby kid or the baby goat that’s only an hour old,” Huneke said.
The pavilion is full of pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, ducks and chickens, many of which are due to give birth during the fair. Huneke says it gives some kids their first up-close look at farm animals.
“Their eyes light up and it’s amazement at seeing all these young animals and/or how big some of these animals are and they just have no experience around it,” Huneke said.
Beyond the exposure for kids, the Birthing Pavilion gives veterinary students a crash course on delivering different kinds of baby animals. Fourth-year vet school students from a joint UNL and Iowa State program stay in an on-site apartment and care for the animals throughout the fair.
“It is an awesome opportunity to expose a bunch of students to animal agriculture and be talking about farm animals and exposing the to the miracle of birth at the state fair,” Huneke said.