Cows in Switzerland - TIme table?

Mar 16th, 2008, 04:13 PM
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Cows in Switzerland - TIme table?

Anyone know when the cows will be taken up to the Alps and when they will come back down this year? Is it only on one specific date? Does it vary throughout the Swiss Alps?

Anyone ever seen it?
kenav is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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I looked at the web site for Lauterbrunnen Tourismus, but nothing appeared to shed any light on your question. You might try emailing the tourist office at [email protected]

Given that different conditions prevail as a function of location, elevation, and weather, I doubt if there is a specific date at the moment.

I have seen the event. Basically the cows are in full dress uniform with big bells on the prize cows and a headgear on the champion cows that looks like a small Christmas tree. The cows have the right of way along the streets as they walk to the trails that lead to the higher pastures.

There is considerable clanging of bells as the herds wander along.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 05:29 AM
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Thanks. I've just e-mailed them.

Do you remember when you saw this?
kenav is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 05:42 AM
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I've been lucky enough to help bring the cows up and down from the alps. It really is amazing because of the simplicity of it all. And having a coffee in an alphut with the alpler is always worth a visit.

Anyway, it really depends on how much grass is available in the alps. When the temperature is right and there's enough grass, the cows go up. Usually end of May - June.

The cows come down when there's no grass due to: snow, cold or late in the season. Usually September. I have seen them come down at the end of August too due to snow.

Most of the cow shows are in the middle to beg. of October and the cows need to be home for them.

So, depending on the conditions of the specific alp the cows are going to, the dates vary. Not all cows are dressed up to go to the mountains and more and more cows are being transported with a trailer.
kleeblatt is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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My experience is the same as Schuler's. Pasture usage is carefully managed in Switzerland to prevent overgrazing.

In fact, aroud Grindelwald the alps are named, defined, and assigned x number of cows, sheep, and goats.
I presume that is true elsewhere in Switzerland.

I am sure Schuler can give us more information. He might even explain one Swiss term that is not in my dictionary: senntümer as in senntümer Lager.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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I think Schuler is a she... not sure though...
gruezi is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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Ich bitte um Entschuldigung. Leider habe ich Frau Schuler noch nicht kennengelernt.

Aber ich verstehe "senntümer" nicht.
Hoffentlich, jemand kann dieses Wort für mich klar machen.

Jetzt dass ich das Deutsch ermordet haben, vielleicht alle Leute mich bedauren werden.

Nicht war bewusst. Der Grund ist nur meine Unerkentniss von Deutsch.

Ich gebe meine Unwissenheit zu, und Herr Harzer von Grobheit kann am liebsten nichts sagen.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 12:47 AM
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Hi Bob Brown,

Last I looked, I'd say I'm definitely eine Frau.

I read your German and it wasn't too bad. Ok, maybe you "murdered" it a little bit. But after twenty years, mine still isn't perfect either so maybe you should have some "bedauern" with me!

In my area of Switzerland, "Senntümer" is not used. Our alps are divided up between 2 or 3 different "Genossenschafts", or corporations that go back in history.

But "senntümer" must be a derivation from "eigentümer", meaning the owner of property. I'd say it's a property of a Senn or Alpler. A "Senn" is someone who goes every summer up to the mountains to care for the cows and quite often makes cheese with the milk. The property gets passed down from generation to generation. I read somewhere that some properties have been joined to to make the "alp industry" more efficient.

The alps are indeed assigned specific numbers of cows, horses, sheep, goats etc. Sometimes farmers have their cows in more than one alp because of this designation. If you go to Glattalp in the back of Muotathal, you'll find cows and horses grazing together. It's quite a sight, especially when the horses start running around. I saw this in Engadin too.

In my area, advertisements are put in the paper for alplers in the summer. The owner isn't always the person who works on the alp.

Here's a nice website that explains the Appenzeller cattle drive in English. Note that every region has their own words for this tradition.

kleeblatt is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 05:35 AM
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This all is getting beyond what I originally asked - and is very interesting! (That's why I love traveling - you're always learning, learning, learning.)

The Lauterbrunnen tourist board said also that it's hard to determine, but generally the cows go up in May, sometimes in April, and back down in September. Obviously, I would like to be there for the action (coming down), but guess you just can't know exactly when it will happen.
kenav is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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Oh, just splurge and go FOR THE WHOLE MONTH!!!! (I wish I could!)
Dukey is offline  

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