Alpine Lamb Showcase Project on Hauser Kaibling

EU-Leader Project: Enns Valley Lamb

The Alpine Lamb Project, that started in 2008, will hit its tenth season next summer.

The project

The beginnings

By driving more than 800 sheep up to Hauser Kaibling, the Sheep and Goat Farming Association and the Hauser Kaibling Ski Lift Association have set a new course in landscape maintenance: 

  • Systematic grazing on the Alpine pastures and ski-run areas
  • Scientific support by the LFZ Raumberg-Gumpenstein
  • Benefits for tourism
  • Professional marketing

Sheep farming in Austria and in the district of Liezen has a long tradition. Over the years, a reduction of agricultural businesses because of constantly increasing costs and a shortage of labour meant a drop in farming in the Alpine pastures. The Alpine pastures became overgrown with dwarf-shrubs and brush, as well as trees. Climate change has also affected the landscape, seeing the forest line move higher up the mountains.

 

The implementation

To counter this, the Styrian Sheep Farming Association in partnership with Haus im Ennstal, the Hauser Kaibling Ski Lifts, the LFZ Raumberg-Gumpenstein (agricultural school), as well as the regional agriculture authority in Stainach, created the Alpine Lamb Project on Hauser Kaibling in 2008.

In the first couple of weeks in May, the sheep are driven up Hauser Kaibling, where they spend their summer. A shepherd or shepherdess look after about 800 sheep and lambs for the entire. Before they head up to the alpine pastures, the sheep are registered, weighed, wormed, and undergo a routine health check. The weight of all the sheep together is about 40,000 kg. During the 120 days of grazing, the flock eats more than 1 million kg of grass, alpine herbs, and leaves from the brush. "The flock significantly contributes to the maintenance of our cultured landscape", says Arthur Moser, managing director of the Hauser Kaibling Gondola Lift.

 

Hauser Kaibling Health Resort

While the sheep are very comfortable up on the alpine pastures (it is like a health resort for them), the variety of the feed creates the best conditions for the production of high-quality Alpine lambs, which are sold through the Ennstal Valley Sheep Farming Centre.

Ecological ski-run maintenance

Not only are the alpine pastures great for grazing, they are also Hauser Kaibling’s ski run areas. By grazing, the sheep provide very ecological ski run maintenance, so the use of heavy vehicles and equipment can be reduced significantly.

The LFZ Raumberg-Gumpenstein scientifically monitors the flock, ensuring the effects of grazing on the plant population is as beneficial as they are for the animals (weight gain, meat quality).

 

Tenth Styrian Alpine Lamb Festival

The project is topped off with the unique annual Styrian Alpine Lamb Festival on the last Sunday in July (30th July 2017). 

This summer, the tenth edition of the Styrian Alpine Lamb Festival will take place at Hauser Kaibling’s base station. This summer highlight promises a varied programme for the whole family, from seeing 800 sheep roam the fields to enjoying culinary Ennstal valley lamb treats. Entrance is free of charge!

There’s something for everyone at Experience the Sheep. Tuck into the culinary delights of the unique, high-quality Ennstal lamb. Guests and locals will enjoy an extensive family-fun festival with all sorts of things to do and see.

 

Programme highlights:

  • Great Fendt tractors exhibition with one of the biggest tractors in the world - the Fendt 1000 Vario.
  • Fun Sheep Race: Bet & Win.

Programme:

  • 09.30 am: Ecumenical sermon
  • 10.00 am: Official opening with the Marktmusikkapelle Haus im Ennstal
  • 11.00 am: The shepherd, with his border collie, Fly, will lead 800 sheep into the festival area
  • 12.00 am: Presentation of culinary delights made from the Ennstal valley lamb
  • from 01.00 pm: Musical entertainment with Schoffeichtkoglposcha
  • Special activities for our youngest visitors: pony rides, bouncy castle, face painting, handicrafts

In summer, Hauser Kaibling is a real hiker’s paradise. Take to the sign-posted Schafsinn circular walk and sheep-box at Hauser Kaibling tower area. Along the trail, there is a lot of information about the Enns valley lamb EU-leader-project. Also, you’ll have marvellous views across the entire Enns valley and you will meet an 800-strong flock of sheep and lambs and their shepherd. This sustainable project is not only the basis for the happy Enns valley sheep in summer but also motivation for ecological, regional, and valuable products and healthy food.

Styrian Alpine Lamb Festival 2017 Highlights

  • Fendt tractor exhibition
  • Fun sheep race: bet & win
  • Children’s activities (pony rides, bouncing castle, face painting, handicrafts)
  • Exhibitors: presentation of various sheep products
  • Culinary highlights: enjoy lamb delicacies and regional specialties from our Ennstaler farmers
  • Presentation of various styrian wines 
  • Raffle with valuable non-cash prizes, such as a Ski amadé season pass for 2017/18
  • Shepherd watching – experience the shepherd with his dog and their flock 
  • ... and much more