We cows that are from the Hérens breed are fighters, it’s just what we do! The best fighters among us are designated the queens.
Each cowshed has a queen, and everyone knows who she is. Sometimes she doesn’t need to fight because all her friends acknowledge that she is the strongest. When all the herds mingle on the Alpine pastures, we lock horns on a regular basis as a way of working out who is the strongest. The queen leads the herd and watches over it.
After 90 days, the cow that has won against all the others becomes the queen of the horns. When the cows come down from the mountains, the queen is crowned on the last day of the Alpine grazing period with a bouquet, and her followers get one too. The milk queen is also crowned – the one who has produced the largest quantity of milk during the summer. Those cows and their owners proudly parade their way down as they come down from the pastures. Don’t forget that the queens increase in value, as do their future calves.
Our owner shapes our horns’ growth from the first year so that they grow smoothly and are well adapted to the combat. It doesn’t hurt – wearing a horn brace is a bit like you humans wearing a brace on your teeth! Our owners also make sure that our horns aren’t too sharp so that we don’t hurt teach other when we fight.