Swiss farmer leads cows to water – and onto a boat
For 29 years, Josef Häcki has been bringing his cows from the “mainland” in Pfäffikon, canton Schwyz, to Ufenau, an island in Lake Zurich, at the beginning of April. They stay on the 11-acre island – the largest in Switzerland that can be reached only by boat – until the end of May.
This content was published on April 22, 2017 - 11:00
Trained as a picture journalist at the MAZ media school in Lucerne. Since 2000 she has worked as a picture editor in various media concerns and as a freelancer. Since 2014 she has been with swissinfo.ch.
On Ufenau the cattle eat on the meadow, so the farmer doesn’t have to do any mowing. It’s paradise for the animals: they eat fresh grass, buttercups and dandelions and they can roam around to their heart’s content.
Häcki rents the island, which is owned by Einsiedeln Abbey. He is responsible for the forest, meadows and the reeds. The only animals allowed on Ufenau are heifers – female cows that are at least a year old and have not had a calf – so there is no daily milking.
At the end of May, Häcki gathers his livestock and heads back up the mountain in Graubünden. That’s where they spend the summer, before sailing back to Ufenau in autumn.