Post 16. Stable

This is the only stable in Zinal still in use today. Built in 1859, it was bought and renovated by the current owners in 1973.

  Map of Zinal

“This stable belonged to four families, including my parents. The owners organized themselves, according to an established order, to store hay in the barn. They used other stables, more remote and less practical, each in their turn, when the stable in Zinal was occupied.“ (Hélène Tscherry-Theytaz)

All the cows in the stable are of the Hérens variety. They are solid and muscled cows, smaller than their peers and well adapted to life in the mountains. They are the descendants of the aurochs that lived free and designated the herd leader by fighting head against head, horns interlocked. This is probably the origin of the local tradition of cow fights (combats de reines) that are particular to this breed of cows.

Until the end of traditional agriculture in the years 1955-1960, the cows went up to the pastures of Barneuza, Lirec, Cottier, Tracuit, Arpitettaz, La Lée, Singlinaz and Sorebois. These pastures were occupied by cows, sheep and pigs. In 1887, at the pasture of La Lée, there were 155 cows, 69 heifers, 40 goats, 14 pigs and 300 sheep. In Sorebois there were 126 cows, 60 heifers, 13 bulls and 13 pigs.

The pastures of Cottier and Arpitettaz were bought by residents of Salgesch which is located in the valley of the Rhone near Sierre.

Today, the pastures located above Zinal receive summering heifers or sheep. Only the Singlinaz pasture occupied by cows from the canton of Vaud, still functions fully.

Cows from Zinal, Ayer and Mission spend the summer at the Nava Alpine pasture, above Ayer. During the season, the cow that beats the others is elected queen.

Hanging on the wall of the barn, there are wooden sleds on wheels that were used to transport hay from the pastures until 1965.


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After the barn, the chalet with two floors housed the first Inn (auberge) in Zinal.