Lives in the Fold

Ümmühan and Ahmet İlsay are breeding cattle in the Goca Plateau of Hallaçlar village on the skirts of Mount Madra. The product they buy from small olive groves meets their needs. The İlsay couple lives together with their sheep right next to the fold (fold is called “saya” in the region). Ahmet stays there in the summer and winter. Ümmühan goes to live with her single son Mustafa in the cold months. The couple who passed their sixties have six children.

The number of people who earn their living through animal husbandry around Mountain Ida is decreasing day by day. After Balıkesir became a metropolitan municipality, as the villages turned into neighborhoods, pastures began to disappear rapidly. In addition, the underground mines and dams in the surrounding areas have made animal husbandry much more difficult.

Ahmet Ilsay says that this year he will stop doing this business after his young son gets married. Although in Turkey the number of small cattle has decreased in general, the exact number is unavailable since imported animals kept in quarantine for 21 days are regarded "native". According to TURKSTAT data, the number of sheep and goats has increased by 7.2% in 2017 and by 4.1% in 2018.