Montbeliarde Cow in the Fields around Poligny, France

PHOTO: Leader of the Herd – Montbeliarde Cow in Poligny, France

Montbeliard cows in the fields surrounding Poligny, France. The Montbeliard is one of only two breeds whose milk is allowed to be used in the production of France's famous Comte cheese.

I came face to face with this giant Montbeliarde cow at the fruitère (dairy farm) of Marie Roy in Poligny, France. I was curious why she was the only cow who wore a bell around her neck. Marie explained that certain cows just naturally become leaders of the herd. They lead others between fields or back and forth to the dairy for milking. The bell apparently helps the rest of the herd to be alert to what the leader expects of them.

The Montbeliarde cow is one of only two breeds whose milk is allowed to be used in the production of France’s famous Comte cheese. The other is the Simmental breed, which is allowed to provide no more than five percent of the milk used in the production of Comté. Considering the cow’s size, I was amazed by her gentleness. She seemed unconcerned by my presence, looking up only momentarily before lowering her massive head to tear up another hunk of grass and wildflowers.

Author’s note: I was a guest of the Comté Cheese Association during travels through Franche-Comté. However, the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

4 Comments on “PHOTO: Leader of the Herd – Montbeliarde Cow in Poligny, France

    • Hi Beth – the cows at the farms in Franche-Comté are absolutely loved by their farmer/owners. And they are treated so well. I was very impressed.

  1. Very interesting – thanks Barbara. So that’s the function of the bell 🙂

    • I was surprised by that as well, Linda. Somehow I wouldn’t consider having to wear that heavy bell, much less listen to it all day, to be an honor, but the cows don’t seem to mind it.

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