During the season, more than 200 farm animals roam the museum grounds: from families of chickens, through hares, pigs, sheep, goats and cows to large, languorous oxen. The museum's animals also include breeds that are rarely found anywhere else in the country. Children and adults can see our animals up close in the petting enclosure.
There aren't many museums where chickens wander among the exhibits, while the sound of pigs grunting and the smell of fresh manure fill the air. But at the Swiss Open-Air Museum, the animals are literally its lifeblood. Around 200 farm animals spend the summer in the museum instead of in the Alps. They inhabit the grounds and are a popular visitor attraction. The animals live in specially designed stables and enclosures, where they can be viewed up close and petted. As many of the Ballenberg animals are rare breeds, the museum showcases the enormous diversity of Swiss farm animals in days gone by.
Most of the Ballenberg animals are brought to the open-air museum by their owners during the first few weeks of the summer season. When the season ends, the cows, horses, goats, sheep and rabbits return to their original homes for the winter months. The hens and cockerels are purchased in spring and sold to interested parties in November. The animals owned by the museum are taken to winter stables in Brienzwiler and looked after by our in-house farm staff. Wherever possible, we use feed produced within our own grounds. Owing to the quantity and type of the feed, we need to purchase more for the winter months, as well as during the summer season. Our annual animal care bill is around CHF 150,000 – so why not sponsor an animal to ensure that the bucolic symphony of clucking, mooing and grunting can continue to be enjoyed at the museum during the coming season?