Skip to main content
NC State CVM Teaching Animal Unit

Department of Population Health and Pathobiology

Teaching Animal Unit

The Teaching Animal Unit (TAU) is located just east of the College of Veterinary Medicine on approximately 80 of the campus’ 180 acres. It is operated by a dedicated staff working under the supervision of Dr. Dennis P Wages. The staff and PHP residents are actively involved in training the veterinary students who participate in laboratory training during Years 1-3 of the professional DVM curriculum. The TAU is a dynamic teaching lab for veterinary students to learn husbandry, production management, and routine procedures used in livestock production. Students are able to observe and work with normal animals in a real farm setting.

The TAU is consistently one of the most popular activities in which veterinary students engage at NC State. They have regularly scheduled labs during Years 1-3, and make visits as part of their senior rotations during Year 4. The Unit consists of six sub units that reflect the principal food animal groups.

Beef Unit

Beef Unit

TAU Beef Unit consist of 16 Broadcows with their calves, 7 replacement heifers and finisher steers. The Angus cows calf in the winter months (January – February). TAU uses AI (artificial insemenation) to breed in the spring (April-May).

The veterinary students learn various techniques while studying here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Some techniques that are taught are: handling and restraint,using head gates blood collection, injection sites, body condition scoring, breeding, dystocias, freeze branding and others.

Dairy Unit

Dairy Unit

The TAU Dairy Unit consist of 14-18 milking cows, 6-8 replacement heifers and 6-8 finisher steers. As the dairy cows calf, the calves are placed in hutches and are hand milk fed. After 2 months, the hutch calves are weaned off of milk and put into a pasture to grow either as a replacement heifer or a finisher steer. The TAU Dairy cows are milked twice a day, being milked approximately 12 hours apart. The milk is picked up thru the university system which is then taken to the plant to be processed and put on the shelves.The veterinary students learn various; techniques while studying here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Some techniques that are taught are: handling and restraint, casting, blood collection, injection sites, body condition scoring, foot trims, breeding, dystocias and others.

Image Description

Equine Unit

The TAU Equine Unit consist of 4-6 broadmares, 15 teaching horses, 1 stallion and a gelding that is used for an Anatomy class (students use him to identify the bone and muscle structures of the horse). It is the students responsibilities to foal out the broadmares,imprint and halter train the foals. Once the foals are weaned they are sold under a sealed bid.

The veterinary students learn various; techniques while studying here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Some techniques that are taught are: handling and restraint, blood collection,injection sites,nasalgastric tubing, physical and soundness exams,breeding, dentistry and others.

Poultry Unit

Poultry Unit

In the spring, TAU houses approximately 5000 chickens. They are contracted thru a commercial poultry. Day old chicks are delivered sometime in February and they are raised at TAU for 7 weeks. After 7 weeks, they are shipped to a processing plant.

In the fall, TAU houses approximately 2000 turkeys. They are also contracted thru a commercial poultry. Day old chicks are delivered sometime in September and they are raised at TAU for 14 weeks. After 14 weeks, they are shipped to a processing plant.

The veterinary students learn various techniques while studying here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Some techniques that are taught on both chickens and turkeys are: handling and restraints, blood collection, tissue samples and others.

Small Ruminant Unit

Small Ruminant Unit

The TAU small ruminant unit consist of approximately 20-22 katahdin sheep and 20 boar goats. Both of the small ruminant are bred in September-October and the lamb and kid in February-March.

The veterinary students learn various techniques while studying here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Some techniques that are taught are: handling and restraints, blood collections,injection sites, hoof trimming, nutrition, breeding and dystocias and others.

Swine Unit

Swine Unit

The TAU Swine Unit consist of a gestation barn, which houses 25-34 sows and several boars used for breeding, a farrowing house, which can house up to 7 sows for farrowing, a nursery barn, which contains 6 pens and a finisher barn that has 3 individual rooms that contain 4 pens in each.

Swine gestation is 3 months,3 weeks and 3 days. Once the sows farrow the piglets are given injectable vitamins and antibiotics and processed. When the piglets age to 3-4 weeks, they are moved into the nursery. 4-5 weeks later, they are moved into a finisher barn. Once they get to weight (210-240lbs), they are shipped to market.

The veterinary students learn various techniques while studying here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Some techniques that are taught are: handling and restraint, blood collection, injection sites,nutrition, breeding, pregnancy checks and others.

Here are a few terms you need to know to get around a pig barn. Barrow: male pig that has been neutered. Boar: adult male pig kept for breeding purposes. Farrow: to give birth. Feeder pig: piglet after it’s weaned from the sow, also known as ‘weaner’ pig. Gilt: female pig that has never farrowed. Litter: group of piglets born at one time from the same sow. Market hog: barrow or gilt raised for meat production, weighs up to 110 kg. Piglet: newborn pig, weighs 1-2 kilograms. Pork producers: farmers, the people that raise pigs. Runt: smallest piglet in the litter. Sow: adult female pig.