Wisconsin high school students learn to take care of piglets

Associated Press
This Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, photo shows Petunia with her litter at Beaver Dam High School in Beaver Dam, Wis.

BEAVER DAM (AP) — Students in an agriculture class in Wisconsin are getting hands-on experience in caring for farm animals with the birth of six piglets in the school's large animal classroom.

Petunia the pig had her piglets at Beaver Dam High School earlier this month, the Daily Citizen reported.

"She was bred Oct. 22 or 23 and stayed at home on the farm until she was closer to giving birth," said agricultural science instructor Jonathon Ganske.

Petunia had three males and three females. Students will help take care of the animals, including giving them shots and tracking their growth.

"They will care for them and learn why farmers do what they do," Ganske said.

Many of the students enrolled in the agriculture class don't have a farming background, but may be considering having careers that involve animals.

In this Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, photo, Beaver Dam High School students hold six piglets that were born at the high school on Saturday include, front row from left, Mason Ferron, Andy Boschert and Isabelle Ruiz and back row from left, are Dustin Wendt, Caitlyn Poels and Reagen North at Beaver Dam High School in Beaver Dam, Wis.

"It's interesting to see the life cycle more in person than in a textbook," student Caitlyn Poels said.

The high school recently completed a renovation that gave additional space for animals and aquaponics. Animals such as fish, calves, pigs and rabbits are available to be studied.

The animals give students a hands-on learning opportunity, Ganske said. Before the renovation, students likely would've just read about the animals, discussed them in class and watched a video.

Petunia and her piglets will return to the farm once the piglets are weaning. Students will have the opportunity to name the piglets before they leave.