13 Apr 2013

Visit to UPM Milking Farm, and Museum of Anatomy

When one has the freedom to learn in a free setting, school can happen anywhere. Last Friday, we chose to have school at a farm. We awoke very early, drove an hour and arrived at the farm by 730am. Such a serene and lovely feeling to feel the early morning breeze as we watched the cows grazing on the huge huge land that seemed to roll on forever.

Jo and her backpack, walking to "school"

When we arrived at the milking station, the first batch of cows were already feeding on their food of corn and soya bean pallets.

Here they are cleaning the cow's teats, and then massaging them to stimulate the release of oxytocin which will lead to the production of milk. Info in detail found here.

An excerpt:
  "Milk let-down (ejection) is the natural process used by the cow to help remove milk from the  udder. This process is brought about by the release of the hormone oxytocin from a gland at the base of the brain, following a suitable stimulus being received by the cow.The stimulus may be visual, heard or felt and should be predictable and consistent at every milking. Most  importantly it should not induce fear in cows. It is commonly thought that genetic selection has ensured that most commercial cows will let-down freely without physical contact with the teats. Handling of the teats however, is a strong stimulus for let-down with research showing that at least 15 seconds of massage per cow is required to effect an appreciable change in milking characteristics. After release, oxytocin travels through the blood stream and has a direct effect on small muscle cells that surround the milk-producing cells in the udder. Oxytocin causes these muscle cells to contract and squeeze the milk into the milk ducts and so towards the teat. The pressure of the milk being forced into the ducts and down towards the teat causes the teat to swell with milk and become ‘plump’ with milk. It takes between 60 and 90 seconds for the teats to become plump with milk after let-down has been initiated."

This is Dr. Baljut, who provided us with lots of great information about cows and the milking process. He was very patient, answering questions by the children, such as "How many stomachs does a cow have?" "How long can a cow produce milk, and from how old?"  to other very important questions such as "Why does the cow have a bump on his head?" :)

Milk being collected in these containers
We then went on to watch this farmer feeding the calves. The calves do not feed direct from their mother, as the farmers do not want the milk cows to get used to having their calves as stimulus for milk let down.

Milk all drunk up. Yummm....

Our children having a go at feeding the calves milk from a huge bottle. They found the bottle really heavy! :) but they were all so happy just being able to feed these babies.

We  then went on to the Museum of Human Anatomy located at the Medical Faculty. I will say, this was a REALLY fascinating and awesome museum. We were not allowed to take photos, as there were many many specimens there of all sorts of body parts, including fetuses and still born babies. Our children were naturally very attracted to the specimens of fetus and placenta, wanting to learn of how they were formed. Going through the museum, they saw in detail the human skeleton, learnt some about the voice box, digestion system and etc.  

I guess, the great thing about this visit was that we had 3 doctors who accompanied our children, explaining to them in detail how our body functions, and answering all their questions.

The only photo I managed to take before they announced, NO cameras.

Another great place to visit at UPM is the Museum of Animal Anatomy at the Veterinarian Faculty.
Kids loved this place too. It's a really small museum, but has a rather good collection of skeletons and skulls. Again, they sent two doctors who answered all sorts of quirky questions by the children, such as "Why did you remove the hair from the horse's tail when you collected its skeleton." Or "Why is the horse's penis so HUGE!"  :)

This is why the question of penis was asked. ;)

A very long python

Skeleton of an Orang Utan

And can you guess which animal is this?

I highly recommend this tour. If you're keen on organizing one for yourself, you may email
 kamarol_ab@putra.upm.edu.my  and

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013



Michiko Johnson said...

Your children having at weeding the calves milk which was when I has younger time I lived in country in japan.
I reality enjoy my time.
I can understand 3 doctors who accompanied to children for explaining them our body tunctions all their answering guestions.

marie said...

My mom grew up on a farm in Idaho and all my uncles are farmers and I've milked many a cow in my day.

How fun for your girls.

And I don't necessarily love science but I adore Anatomy.

gail said...

Well, what animal is it?

It must be much different there from here. I doubt we would have any animal penis on display in a museum.

Divoo said...

What a great tour! It's good to see that your kids learn things from practical experiences. Great pictures, as usual! :) I always look forward to reading about such visits on your blog.

Martha said...

Milking cows is a rare activity here, I guess all the best milk come from cold countries,
Well G, it is the skeleton of a wild boar. Huge, larger than a lion's skeleton.

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

Ahah..I wanted to say wild boar. hehe. Thanks so much for the info. Maybe next time will make a trip there. Do they accept just two children or more? LOL. And is it FOC?

Martha said...

Hi Carolyn, it is foc for now, not sure what future plans are. To go you'll have to make an appointment for a group. Why not organize one for your neighborhood group or suggest it to your childs school to do one.

ChloeRuoyi said...

Interesting! I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually studied in this university for 4 years and never knew these places (the milking station and the animal anatomy museum) existed! But that was nearly 2 decades ago :p Maybe they really did not exist then. I used to attend lectures in the veterinary faculty. The place has changed so much!

Fatimah Abdul Samad said...

Hi Martha,

On behalf of UPM, I truly appreciate your positive comments and recommendation on your recent visit to UPM. We are glad the visit was very fruitly indeed and hope for other visits in future.


Marketing and Promotions Section
Universiti Putra Malaysia

Fatimah Abdul Samad said...

Hi Martha,

On behalf of UPM, we highly appreciate your positive comments and recommendation on your recent visit to UPM.

We are glad the visit turned out well. We very much welcome any other future visits to UPM.

Thank you once again.


Fatimah Abdul Samad
Marketing and Promotions Section
Universiti Putra Malaysia

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