In the Dordogne, traditionally, agricultural draught animals were the pair of oxen or cows more robust than horses.

Beef and calves for food were reared on the large estates in the valley with more intensive fattening and good pastures. Animals of the Limousin or local bastard breeds were then mainly transported to Bordeaux. For Mardi Gras or Jeudi Gras, butchers would parade through the towns the glossy fattened beef, covered with garlands and cocards, preceded by a musician just before the Lenten abstinence period.

From 1860, with the installation of Trappist monks in Échourgnac, livestock farming and a small dairy industry developed for the production of cheese. This production was based on Breton and Dutch cattle breeds, as in the model estate of Fournils in Saint Laurent des Hommes.

Illustrations :

– Postcard with a young shepherdess and her two cows in Vanxains (Dordogne) (Archives départementales de la Dordogne 2 Fi 2159)

– Photograph of a pair of oxen from the Couderc family at Fonvaleix in Saint Astier in 1923 (Private collection, Hervé Mercier, Saint Astier, 1900-1950, La vie astérienne, Tome 2, Imprimerie IOTA, Saint Astier, 2015)

– Postcard of fattened steers from the Faure butcher’s shop in Mussidan in the 1920s. (Private collection)

– Advertising of feed supplements for cattle breeding, 1898 and 1924. (©Musée André Voulgre)

– Lithographs of the dairy cow and the cremières, Annales de la société d’agriculture de la Dordogne, 1829. (©Musée André Voulgre)

– Photograph of a Mussidan farmer in 1900 with his local cow. (Photo Sarah Vergnas. Collection Chasseigne)

– Photo-cards of fattened steers from the Faure butcher’s shop in Mussidan in the 1930s. (©Collection Escarment)