Charollais

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.

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. On average at maturity, rams weigh 135 kg (300 lb) and ewes weigh 90 kg (200 lb).

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.

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.

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