This volume opens with an overview of traditional animal husbandry on the Atlantic and Mediterranean watersheds, and animal breeds, special focus being given to cattle and sheep. The names by which domesticated animals are known according to breed, age and sex are also accounted for.
Subsequent sections detail stabling and enclosures for animal husbandry; feeding stabled livestock in the homestead or out in the fields; breeding and animal care, including the reproductive cycle of domesticated animals, coming into season and live cover of female animals, gestation, delivery, studs, and artificial insemination.
The best part of the work focuses on the study of upland livestock and the practice of driving flocks to upland pastures. The following issues are likewise addressed: animal retinue of the shepherds, mountain or summer pastures, valley or winter pastures, annual cycle of the shepherd; livestock branding; common pasture land in Bizkaia, commons associations and brotherhoods in Álava, parzonerías in Gipuzkoa and Álava, unions and communal land in Navarre, specific features of Pyrenean commons, Navarrese corralizas, facerías or cross-border grazing agreements, territorial grazing syndicates in the Northern Basque Country, and north Pyrenean kaiolars. Ancestral grazing sites and mountain pastoral establishments are also described.
Besides all of the above transhumance, both winter and summer transhumance, and transterminance are dealt with at length. Other topics of research are: types and uses of sheepdogs; types of shepherds, including shepherds with their own flock, large flock shepherds on a wage and council shepherds, and their living and working conditions; the shepherd’s apparel, pastoral craft items and belongings, and the hunting of vermin.
Lastly, insight is provided into the process of milking, the production of cheese and other dairy products and their marketing; shearing and the different uses of wool; the domestic slaughtering of animals; livestock fairs and trade; bee-keeping and all it involves; rituals, beliefs and customs regarding the livestock; and shepherd’s games.
Fieldwork conducted in 61 localities (Álava: 13; Bizkaia: 12; Gipuzkoa: 11; Navarre: 16; Northern Basque Country: 9) along with 26 mountains and mountain ranges throughout the territory. Research campaign carried out in 1989. Date of publication: 1993. Date of reprint: 2005.