Tux-Zillertal – sure-footed Protector of the Herd

Tux-Zillertaler cattle probably originate from the Valais Hérens breed and are mainly common in the Tyrol.

Animals from the Tux-Zillertal breed come in black (Tux type) or rich reddish-brown (Zillertal type) with continuous white coloration from the tail to beneath the belly. On the back a so-called ‘Feder‘(plume) is desirable.

Due to its frugality and good performance in sparse fodder conditions the breed impressed even the Russian tsars, so the animals were often exported to Russia. Together with their shepherds they travelled over 3000 kms on foot!

    Votivtafel Tux-Zillertal

The gratitude of the shepherds for the healthy return from the cattle drive to Russia is commemorated by a votive tablet which was donated in 1848 to the foundation Fiecht-St.Georgenberg bei Schwaz.

(picture source: www.meinbezirk.at)

One characteristic that the Tux-Zillertaler cattle share with the Hérens is belligerence. In the past, when ownership structures on the alps and meadows were not yet clearly regulated, the strength of the Tux-Zillertaler cattle was put to good use. The farmers often had a Tux-Zillertaler cow to ensure good pasture land for the rest of the herd and protect them from attacks by other cattle. The animals were considered as loners and mostly occupied a special dominant position vis-a-vis the rest of the herd.

Clearer delineations of ownership structures at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as better feeding of the animals made the fight for the best pastures superfluous, and the Tux-Zillertaler increasingly disappeared from the Tyrolean Alps. The Second World War and various diseases nearly caused it to die out. In the mid-1970s the number of Tux-Zillertaler animals had shrunk to 30 animals worldwide. It is thanks to the commitment of enthusiastic breeders that one can still come across the Tux-Zillertaler today and that they have made a name for themselves as suckler cows for example.

Sources: mutterkuh.ch | arche-austria.at | wikimeat.at