Dairy cows and beef cattle that continue to nurse their young are both raised. The first group, raised for the milk they produce, are very quickly separated from their young in order to wean them. A dairy cow can give up to 9,000 litres per lactation (a period of 305 days). The second group describes cows whose primary purpose is meat: the young are not weaned and the cows nurse their calves.
The Geneva countryside counts some 2,000 sheep. They are raised primarily for meat, but other products are also sourced from sheep. Yogurts and cheeses from sheep’s milk (lait de brebis). Clothing, duvets and insulation material are made from the wool.
Nearly 200 goats of different breeds are also found in the canton. Goats are raised mainly for their milk in Switzerland. In Geneva, this is used to make a variety of cheeses as well as goat’s milk soap. Goat and kid (at Easter) meat can also be found in Geneva.
The Basse-cour Carougeoise regroups several producers devoted to raising a variety of breeds that include hens, ducks, geese, pigeons and rabbits. The group organizes an annual aviculture exhibit at the Place de la Sardaigne.
Geneva also has breeders of chickens, including the “Marsillon” chicken, which is popularly known as “cou nu noir”. This breed is raised for its very high-quality meat.
Geneva’s bee colony population comes to 1,500, with honey as the most well-known of the beehives’ products.
The Right Bank of the lake, at Collex-Bossy, is home to two animal production units that are quite uncommon, both with animals that originated in North America: bison and wapiti. Flavourful and tender, bison meat is a very lean meat appreciated by nutrition experts. The wapiti is one of the great cervids; its meat is delicate, low in fat and has a distinct taste.