Post 2. Barn-Stable

This « grange-écurie » was once used for cows or goats. The upper part was used to store hay needed to feed the animals.

 Map of Mayoux

Observe the assembly system of beams that were axehewn, and the hole through which manure was taken out.

Formerly, there were numerous granges-écuries scattered throughout the valley. The stables, the largest of which had an area of 25 m2, allowed the farmers of the valley (80% of the population) to keep a maximum of six cows, a heifer, a female calf, a calf and two or three goats. The barns could contain about 50-80 m3 of hay. A barn-stable could have up to four owners, who were therefore obliged, in winter, to move cattle every week. It was useless to build bigger barns-stables, because of the partition of properties.

Today, the law on the protection of animals no longer allows their use. Larger stables were built, which could contain between fifteen and forty cows.

In the 1950s, the heavier cows weighed 500 kg, while today they weigh 800 kg. These could not even get into the little old barns of the past.

Formerly, cows were milked most of the year. The cow was used to feed families, while today it is man who feeds the cows. Cows play an ecological role, as well as in tourism. By grazing in the mayens and in the mountain pastures, they help to maintain these areas. The cow fights organised throughout the Canton and in the villages attract many spectators.

A press article on the Hérens breed explained the reasons to own cows : 70% for the beauty of the race, 65% for maintenance of the land and patrimony ; 48% for family tradition, 25% for the beauty of cow fights ; 24% for the pride of owning a potential reine, 9% for economic reasons and 8% for the life of local associations.

 

Next post

Continue along this road for about 300 m to the private stable.