Sunday, September 18, 2011

The American Bison - A Bison Farm in Denmark

It was really true. My eyes did not fool me. Bisons on a Danish field! We had seen Danish cattle and Highlanders, Danish horses and Icelanders today, and now the American bison. I had seen European bison in a reserve by Randers, but we soon found out that this was the American bison. I stood close to the fence, but they stayed far away, didn't notice anything at all. It would be so fascinating, if just one of them would come to the fence. Just imagine to look into the eye of an American bison. It would be like looking into the History of the West!

I had to find out more about these magnificent creatures. They are breeded for their meat, and I really do not like to write about this after having seen them grazing so peacefully. But this is hippocratic. I eat  meat at least once a week. Well, ............

There is a small branch of the American prairie in the northern part of the Danish island Funen. 160 bisons are grazing in the soft Funen landscape. Ditlevsdal is an old parish farm -  situated in a scenic place close to the manor Langesø. This is an old Danish idyl but the bisons bring an exotic touch to the whole. I was astonished to hear that you can get guided tours in the summer season, where you'll see the special casing and pens, where the flock is being gathered, those huge animals cannot be caught by a lasso. There are five flocks, each flock with a bull, cows, young animals and calves.

The owners of the farm, Yvonne and Niels Henrik Ove were respectively medical secretary and accountant. They started in 1993 as the first in the North to breed the American bison. Now the bisons mean everything to them. The enterprise has developed from a small farm shop till tourist-visits and a large restaurant  In the summer season the couple arrange activities at the bison farm for children and adults. In July and August is Bison-barbecue each Thursday night. The farm shop is inspired by Native American culture and bisons. Here is sold wine, applied art, souvenirs and of course bison meat which tastes like something between veal and venison.

Ditlevsdal has become a tourist attraction, but Yvonne Ove rejects that the main purpose is to entertain tourists. The Central point is the breeding of the bisons. She also says that one of the vaslues of Ditlevsdal, which must continue, is the animal welfare - they try to handle the animals as little as possible in order to give them as much peace and quiet as needed. So you are not allowed to scratch a bison behind his ear, the tonne-heavy animals are usually very harmless, but they must not be compared to Danish cattle. If they get alarmed they might attack.

Source: Article in Ekstrabladet by Jørgen Lind, 24 Juli 2009.
I shall not involve myself in writing a story about the Amercian bison, it' s a complicated history, but I have gathered a few interesting facts from Wikipedia:
The heaviest wild bull ever recorded weighed 2,800 pounds (1,300 kg)
Bison is a  Greek word meaning ox-like animal,
Bison herds are difficult to confine, because they can jump over or crash through almost any fence.
Bison were the most numerous single species of large wild mammal on Earth

Are you really able to jump the fence?
Wow, the bison can jump over almost any fence! I wonder if they know that on Funen?

photo 10 September 2011: grethe bachmann


Towanda said...

My tribe, Choctaw, has a bison ranch very near to where I live in SE Oklahoma. They say they are raised for "heritage" reasons, whatever the heck that means and for breeding. They are certainly a beautiful animal.

Thyra said...

Hello Towanda, yes, they are both beautiful and impressive. I was touched when I saw them, but I'm such a romantic.
I guess that it might be difficult completely to avoid tourists. When children hear the unusual news about American bisons in Denmark, then they'll pester their parents,until they agree to take them there! A part of the Wild West! When you grow up, you'll know that the history about the bison is a sad one.
Grethe ´)

Out on the prairie said...

I have seen one jump a 2 1/2 meter stream from standing still.I have worked around numerous projects with them here on the prairie. Very unique to have these.

Thyra said...

Wow!I think they might jump over the fence! But maybe the fence was higher than that, it's not easy to tell. If the bison can jump from standing still then what if it's on the run....It must be unique to work on projects with these animals, but I would be scared. They are huge!

Teresa Evangeline said...

How did I miss this post? Yes, the eye of the bison, and all the history therein. They are such magnificent animals. I appreciate that those who have herds treat them respectfully, even though used for meat. I eat red meat occasionally and when I do it's usually bison.

A wonderful post. Thank you, Grethe.

Thyra said...

Thank you Teresa! I think the bison is so impressive. That huge animal, looking so peaceful. The bison upon the hill looked so lonesome, like it was dreaming of the prairie, but no one of those bisons have probably never even heard of a prairie!
Grethe ´)

Teresa Evangeline said...

Ancestral longing? :)

I'm so glad you got your blog back!!!

Thyra said...

Yes, it might be something like that! One day we might read their mind!

Thank you, I'm so relieved that the blogs came back. I dared not do anything myself, so I had to wait from Friday night till Saturday morning, when my "assistant" came!
Google mentioned "unusual activity" and that was scaring. I was not worth a penny. My son took care of it, and the blogs came back without problems. They had been removed in order to protect them from this unusual activity. Or else I haven't got a clue. It happens accidentially, you know! ´) There are about 156 million blogs.

If it happens again I know what to do. It's so odd for you cannot call anynone on phone. I feel like everything is out there "in space"!


Have a nice Sunday!