Sunday, October 10, 2010

The cows are back, winter is coming

A cow with horns, as it should be. (Photo by Lisette Prince)
Yesterday morning, I awoke to the comforting sounds of cowbells and mooing. Looking out my bedroom window, I saw our bovine friends--their heads down--chewing their breakfast of dew-covered grass and dandelion leaves. It's nice to have our tenant farmer's cows back after their summer-long vacation at higher pastures.

Nevertheless, these particular cows appear sad.

I think the reason is that they lack horns. Removing horns from calves is becoming a trend, here in Switzerland, due to the advent of the less-expensive free stall dairy barns. Without horns, cows need less space, therefore stables cost less. Also, if cows are allowed to wander freely, they are less likely to hurt each other without horns.

Many believe that the quality of milk is compromised by the removal of horns. My neighbor, an old lady who has lived here for the past 80 years, no longer wants milk from our farmer because he has removed his cows' horns.

Regardless, I love this yearly cow arrival in my backyard, serving as a warning that summer is over, and that snow is on its way.


  1. Very interesting but sad we are always interfering with nature for practical purposes....

  2. Thanks for the photo credit! I never heard that removing the horns affects the quality of the milk; what does your farmer say about this?

  3. Thank you Bernadette and Lisette for your comments! Keep them coming!

  4. I just saw your question Lisette! He would say this is ridiculous, but I have heard that stress experienced by cows without horns can cause their milk to taste differently. The stress would be caused by their not being able to defend themselves without horns within their herds .