The Charollais sheep originate from Charolais a region in France. The breed was originally created in the early 1800's by crossing a local landrace breed with a Leicester long wool. Charolais cattle also come from Charolais. Where as the Charollais sheep has two l's the Charolais cattle only have one l.
Charollais sheep are identified by their pinkish faces free from wool, sometimes with short pale hair. Some breeders prefer a pink face with white flashes above the eyes making for a stylish sheep. Often commercial farmers farming at high altitudes prefer a good covering of hair on the rams to help the lambs survive the harsh conditions upon the hill. The breed is medium in size with clean legs free from wool with pale coloured hair. The Charollais has a dense fleece neither too short nor too long or too open.
The breed today is used in the UK as a Terminal sire producing prime lamb for ours butchers. The Charollais ram are normally crossed with a maternal breed such as a mule. The Charollais ram is used for its excellent fleshing qualities especially in the loin and gigots and offers high growth rates. Lambs can be taken from 32kg-60 kg with out getting too fat, allowing flexibility to market at different times of year.
The fineness of bone in the breed makes for a better killing out percentage, but more importantly easier lambing. Easy lambing means less stress to both the ewe and lamb. Meaning the Charollais lambs are vigorous quick to their feet and to suckle. Single lambs can make 40kg in 8 weeks ideal for the easter trade in the uk.
Charollais rams are hard working and able to work for most of the year. Studies have proven that the rams sire more lambs than other breeds working at the same time. Mature from 7 months old reaching weights as high as 150kg fully mature. A Charollais ram will work for 6 to 7 seasons and can live to 10 + years.
Charollais ewes make a good maternal breed reaching sexual maturity at 7 months onward. 8 out of 10 ewe lambs will take in their first year offering 130% lambing rate. Mature ewes can offer upto 180% in early laming flocks in December, but higher rates as much as 220% in march lambing flocks. The Charollais ewes offer a longer breeding season and can weigh between 80-100kg.