The shepherd of Zimmern ob Rottweil

6th March 2021

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The shepherd of Zimmern ob Rottweil

[/vc_custom_heading][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image media=”2522″ media_width_percent=”100″][vc_column_text]A visit.

The largest occurrence of the rare sheep breed Heidschnucke is the Lüneburg Heath, a nature reserve in northern Germany. The Lüneburg Heath Nature Park Association owns 6 herds with approx. 2200 Schnucken.
But now there are also various private breeders all over Germany.
During my research I found a breeder in southern Germany, 1 hour from my hometown Tübingen, with a view of the southern Black Forest nature park.
At the end of February I made my way to Marcel Tietze, the Heidschnucken shepherd from Zimmer ob Rottweil.
It’s still cold on the edge of the Swabian Alb, everything brown-gray from the snow that has just melted.
I meet Marcel Tietze and his wife at the leased sheepfold on the outskirts of Zimmern.
We got to know each other on Instagram – sometimes social media is really useful.
Mr. Tietze immediately agreed to my request for a visit and said that he is always happy when he can talk about his work with the animals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-183515″ isotope_mode=”fitRows” medias=”2490,2492,2517,2516″ gutter_size=”3″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_width=”6″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_padding=”2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Tietze is a full-time carpenter.
As a child he often visited the shepherd in the neighboring village, who also had 2 heather sheep in his large herd.
“The horns, the gray hair, I thought they were cool. They are just not normal and I like what is not normal. ”
Then 10 years ago he decided to buy Heidschnucken himself. He started with 3 gray-horned Heidschnucken, now there are 42 and a black head sheep. His goal is at least one herd of 100 to be able to work on all nature reserves in the area.
Even with `only´ 42 sheep, Tietze has a lot of work to do. But the advantage is that the Heidschnucke is an original sheep, that is, it is not overbred and therefore very robust and less susceptible to diseases. In addition, the Schnucke is very frugal. Even the barren soil on a former military training area is used well by the animals. Tietze sees his work mainly as landscaping. There is little money to be made with the Heidschnucke.
The hair of the Schnucke is too strong to make wool from it, even felting is difficult.
For thin wool, such as merino sheep from Australia, there is no climate in Germany.[/vc_column_text][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-200029″ medias=”2498,2514,2500″ gutter_size=”3″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_width=”6″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_padding=”2″][vc_column_text]A few days ago the sheep were shorn and the wool was given away for free.
The meat content of the Schnucke is low, in contrast to other highly bred sheep breeds, some of which have been bred so broad that they can no longer stand up on their own if they land on their backs.
However, the meat of the Schnucke is of very high quality. It has a special wild-like taste, it  tastes less strong like sheep than the lamb of other sheep breeds and is very lean and rich in protein. Heidschnucke is a specialty in the slow food kitchen.
The free range makes the lamb a perfect organic product.[/vc_column_text][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-527240″ medias=”2496,2499″ gutter_size=”3″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_width=”6″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_padding=”2″][vc_column_text]We meet the Heidschnucken in the sheep pen, where they spend the winter. Theoretically, the heather with its thick fur could stay outside in snow and cold, but this has already unsettled many worried residents. Tietze therefore prefers to forego the difficult discussions and leaves the chicks in the barn for the winter.
“Everyone crows for species-appropriate animal husbandry, but nobody is aware of what that actually means.”
We quickly agree that some knowledge has been lost and a kind of alienation has taken place. The Shepherds’ Guild is critically endangered, and herds of sheep are perfect for the maintenance of natural reserve areas and an important part of a balanced ecosystem.
Especially shepherds like Tietze, with a lot of commitment and understanding for sustainability, are important and should be supported. Here, profit maximization is not the top priority, but the passion for nature and the very special original animal.
In contrast to other sheep farmers, the lambing season does not fall in the middle of winter so that the lambs can be slaughtered at Easter, but the natural rhythm is maintained. We see some very pregnant ewes and it can only be days before the first lambs are born. The male lambs are not slaughtered until the end of December, the females remain part of the herd.
“It’s not a nice day for me either when I hand over the sheep to the butcher. But that’s the run. The way to the butcher is only 10 minutes, so the animals have as little stress as possible. The butcher cuts the meat for me and I get it vacuum-packed. ”
The meat can then be bought directly from Tietze.
The price is around 25-30 euros / kilo.
Dairy products, such as sheep cheese, are not produced because the Heidschnucke produces less milk than other highly bred sheep breeds and this is left to the ewes to raise the lambs.
The skins go to a small tannery in the Black Forest, where it is still tanned with alum, i.e. without any chemicals[/vc_column_text][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-372756″ medias=”2503,2501,2491,2502″ gutter_size=”3″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_padding=”2″][vc_column_text]In contrast to many larger tanneries, you get exactly the hides there,
that one brought. The traditional tanning trade is also threatened with extinction in Germany. Many skins and hides go abroad, where they are often prepared inexpensively with chemical ingredients under poor conditions. In this case, tracing back to the animal is usually no longer possible. Since the sale of the skins does not bring much profit, some would perhaps forego tanning.
“I think the idea of ​​slaughtering the animal and throwing half away would be terrible.” Ms. Tietze confirms my approach to using the fur.
Tietze sums up his idealism perfectly in one sentence:
“At the end you don’t earn a lot, but I like to do it.”
Finally, we visit one of the meadows, where all kinds of herbs and wild plants will soon grow. And then it will be time to send the Heidschnucken back to work.
An inspiring afternoon with the shepherd of Zimmern ob Rottweil.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-784338″ isotope_mode=”cellsByRow” medias=”2493,2487″ gutter_size=”3″ screen_lg=”1000″ screen_md=”600″ screen_sm=”480″ single_width=”6″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_padding=”2″][vc_single_image media=”2495″ media_width_percent=”100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

photo: Theresa Schorer, Agnes Schorer
march 2021[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]