The steep slopes and the great differences in altitude forced the farmers of Vals (Graubünden/CH) to adopt a decentralized system of operation: there are widely scattered barns at every level all the way up to the „Maiensäss“ or spring and autumn pastures.
In the Vals valley the typical barn with its timber corner posts and a pen for livestock enclosed by stone walls originated between 1890 and 1960; often these barns replaced even older structures. The farmers stored hay in them and moved their cattle from one barn to the next, usually toward the valley, so that they ended up near the village in midwinter. If the ground was frozen or after a heavy snowfall, each animal had to be led individually, sometimes even more men were necessary.
In 1913 a Vals author wrote the following about these agricultural structures: „Each barn has its own demeanor, one visage is funny, another droll, this one looks serious, that one frail, another bends forward or leans to the side. Each one is unique and has its own story, just like a human character.“