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Animals

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Cows - moo!

cowsThe cowsheds of South Tyrol’s farms are full of cows, our most important domestic animals.
The cow comes from the aurochs, a wild type of cow that died out long ago.
Cattle are ruminant animals. They are completely vegetarian and have several stomachs. Their food is swallowed and pre-digested, then goes back up to their mouths and is chewed again thoroughly.
Cattle provide us with meat, milk and leather. In the olden days they were used as working animals to carry and pull heavy objects. Today we use machines for this. The females are called cows and the males, bulls. Calves, the young cattle, live in the cowsheds, too. The cows’ udders are full of milk and as soon as the calves have drunk enough milk, the farmer comes to milk the cows. This fresh milk goes straight to the breakfast table and tastes delicious!
Well-known cow breeds here are: Grauvieh, Braunvieh, Schwarzbunte, Fleckvieh and Pinzgauer.

The hen

hensThere are a lot of cackling hens on a farm in the Vinschgau valley. They are scratching and scraping for corn, oats and plants. The rooster crows proudly. This male bird is brighter than the females and he rounds up his hens with a loud „cockadoodledoo!“. „Look at the chicks“ says the farmer’s wife and points to the young hens. They only hatched a while ago from the eggs that the hens were sitting on. A hen can lay up to 300 eggs a year. Hens are kept for their meat, too – children especially love roast chicken.

The dog

dogHelen and Freddie arrive at a farm in South Tyrol. They get out of the car and the farm dog comes to welcome them.
All domestic dogs originate from wolves. Thousands of years ago humans began to rear and tame young wolves. These wild animals have since become man’s best friend and have a uniquely close relationship with humans. Later, dogs were bred for specific purposes. Nowadays there are around 400 different dog breeds. Most of the dogs on South Tyrol’s farms are guard dogs, but also serve as hunting and shepherd dogs.
Helen and Freddie make friends with the farm dog while they’re on holiday and play with him on the meadow and go on long walks in the woods. They are already looking forward to their next Farm Holiday in South Tyrol.

The sheep

Jack and his parents are driving through the Schnalstal valley. They see an enormous flock of sheep. The shepherd is driving the flock onwards from one pasture to the next with the help of his sheepdog. The animals eat grass and other plants. ‚Look! A young sheep’ says Jack. He points to a lamb. The male animal with horns is called a ram. Sheep provide us with wool, meat and milk. There are about 49,000 sheep in South Tyrol.

Goats

GoatsKevin has just caught sight of a goat. People have been keeping goats for ages. Goat milk is really healthy and can be made into cheese. Goat’s cheese also tastes good. Goatskin can be made into leather and breeds such as the angora goat and the kashmir goat give us very delicate and expensive wool.
A female goat is called a nanny goat and a young goat is called a kid. There are about 17,000 goats in South Tyrol.

The pig

pigPolly goes into the pigsty on the farm, where a whole load of pigs are oinking. Our domestic pigs originate from wild pigs and are bred for their meat. Polly really likes farm ‚Speck’ and eats a lot of it when she’s on holiday on the farm.
„That’s a sow“ says the farmer. He points to the mother pig. The young are called piglets. „And there’s the boar“ he explains and points to the male pig. Pigs have short, curly tails. In comparison with their large, heavy bodies they have dainty little feet. Pigs are omnivores, which means that they eat everything.

Tractors

tractors„Look! There’s a tractor!“ says Mark and points to a tractor. It has big rear wheels and small front wheels. The farmer is sitting on the tractor steering. He is pulling a plough across the field at the moment. Horses and cattle used to do this job, explains the farmer’s wife, but it’s much quicker and easier now with the tractor. Tractors have large engines. They pull all sorts of agricultural equipment, for example, harrows, tedders, mulchers, spraying machines, and trailers.

The horse

horse

Lara really wants to learn to ride a horse. She would like to sit in the saddle, hold the reins in her hands and set off. At long last, her parents let her go to a Riding Farm, where she gets to know a pony. There are foals running around and playing on the meadow behind the farm. After 11 months, a mare, which is the name for a female horse, gives birth to a foal. A stallion, which is the name for a male horse, lives in the stable.
Horses eat grass, hay and oats, so they are vegetarians. Unlike cattle, however, they are not ruminant animals. These days horses are used for riding, but in the past these hoofed animals were used to pull carts.
People have kept horses as domestic animals for about 5000 years. Over the course of time various different horse breeds have been created from the original wild horses, for example, large, heavy working horses and lighter hot-blooded horses suitable for free time and riding. Horses can be distinguished from each other according to their colour, e.g. grey, black or reddy brown.
A lot of farms in South Tyrol have Haflinger ponies. These are medium-sized, down-to-earth horses especially suitable for riding. The Haflinger pony has a blonde mane.