Charollais sheep

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A shorn Charollais ram

The Charollais is a breed of domestic sheep originating in east central France, in the same region in which Charollais cattle originated, Charolles and Saône-et-Loire. It has a reputation as an easy lamber and is used as a terminal sire to increase muscling and growth rate of the lambs. It has been exported internationally, and is commonly used in the United Kingdom as a sire to produce market lambs from pure-bred ewes and mules.[1]


The Charollais sheep is a medium to large sized breed used as a terminal sire. The head is pinkish-brown and is usually free of wool but may have a fine covering of pale coloured hair and both sexes are polled. It is long in the back, wedge shaped and well-muscled. The breed is fine boned making for a high killing out percentage. The legs are brown, quite short and free of wool.[2] On average at maturity, rams weigh 135 kg (300 lb) and ewes weigh 90 kg (200 lb).[3]

The fleece usually weighs between 2 and 2.5 kg (4.4 and 5.5 lb) and has a staple length of 4 to 6 cm (1.6 to 2.4 in). The wool is fine and measures 56 to 60 on the Bradford count, with a diameter of 29 to 30.5 microns.[1]

The pure bred ram is willing to mate for most of the year and is long-lived. Many rams are still working when aged seven and some live to age ten. The ewes have a long breeding season and are prolific; those lambing in December average 180% while those lambing in February reach 200%. The ease of lambing means minimal stress to both the ewe and lamb and a vigorous lamb keen to suck. The lambs have a rapid growth rate and ewe lambs can be bred at seven months.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Charollais". Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University Dept. of Animal Science. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  2. ^ "British Charollais Sheep". Retrieved 2015-08-15. 
  3. ^ "Charollais/France". Breed Data Sheet. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  4. ^ "Breed history". Charollais Sheep Society. Retrieved 2015-08-15. 

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