Suckler cows and their calves can enjoy life these days. From May to October, they are out on the pasture every day. (Photo: provided)
In several portraits of the beef cattle breeds, there was talk of their earlier use as draught animals. In France in the Morvan region, where the Charolais breed, among others, has its origins, a separate profession, so to speak, developed from the 16th century onwards: the “Galvachers”. After planting the potatoes in spring, the men, the Galvachers, set off with ox teams to offer their services in other regions. They returned to their families on Saint Martin’s Day or sometimes not until the beginning of December (Anost Fair, 1 December). During their absence, women and children kept an eye on the farm at home. Often, they kept one or two pigs and as many cows. The departure and arrival of the Galvachers were always celebrated with great feasts.
Ox teams were used to transport logs, stones, grain and fish, especially from the 19th century until the 1950s. The Galvachers motivated their animals with songs, the so-called “tiaulage”. If you feel like it, listen here to how the “boeufs blancs”, the white oxen, are sung to. (Photo: www.patrimoinedumorvan.org)
Life was hard for the Galvachers and their animals. The days were long, the accommodation usually only a shed. Among other things the ox teams were used where horses could no longer cope with the rough terrain. The oxen hauled huge logs from the mountainous forests down to the rivers, where the logs were then floated to Paris, for example, to be used for heating. Later, they were also used to transport goods on paths and roads. In the 1950s, the “Galvachers” were finally displaced by tractors, railways, trucks and so on.
Such a life is no longer conceivable in Swiss suckler cow husbandry today. Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal grow up carefree in a herd. In the barn, they lie comfortably on cleanly strewn straw surfaces. They can move freely, enjoy the sun’s rays in the exercise yard or let the wind blow around their noses. Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal feed on the best mother’s milk and later on grass and hay. From May to October, they are allowed out to pasture every day, where they eat fresh herbs and frolic to their heart’s content. There is no comparison with past husbandry of multi-use animals (milk, meat, labour)!
Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal can move freely in the barn. Each animal has a bedded, dry place to lie down. (Photo: provided)