Sheep breeds
Blanche du Massif Central

Blanche du Massif Central - Crédit : DR
Blanche du Massif Central - Crédit : DR
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

This breed, originated from the Margeride in Lozère, quickly spread to the regions surrounding its native home area. It is now primarily found in the Massif Central and Languedoc-Roussillon.

The hard and dry soils of the Causses, which have always been its natural habitat, have made the Blanche du Massif Central able to withstand difficult breeding conditions. Its ability to cover wide distances and its hardiness make it adaptable to arid and dry areas, as well as more mountainous regions.

The breed’s good conformation, build and growth rate allow for farmers to manage large purebred flocks. The carcasses, which are heavy and low in fat, are well monetized thanks to various official quality labels. Terminal cross-breeding with specialized meat-breed rams is therefore rare.

Lamb production is possible throughout the year, as ewes are adapted to out-of-season lambing. The breed therefore adapts well to market-led demand and provides sales channels with a steady supply of quality carcasses.


The main breeding program objectives are to improve maternal abilities and meat production qualities, as well as scrapie resistance. Maternal traits are improved through suckling abilities (which makes it possible to produce better-conformed lambs and reduce food supplement costs), and prolificacy (number of lambs per ewe per year).

The improvement of meat production qualities primarily hinges on work targeting carcass quality. To ensure the success of the breeding program, the Massifs Sheep Breed Selection Organization bases its work on the performance recordings in the selection flocks.

Individual on-stations testing (or breeding centers) then gather together the future sires, and the best rams are progeny-tested.


Key figures

  • 250,000 ewes
  • 62 flocks under official performance recording system
  • 22,111 ewes under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 11,197 artificial inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    60 to 80 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    90 to 140 kg
  • Prolificacy after natural estrus: 1.5
  • 30-day weight (singleton male): 13.0 kg
  • 70-day weight (singleton male): 28.7 kg
  • Average Daily Gain 30-70 days (singleton male): 383 g

Results of on-farm performance recording system 2014 - Institut de l’Elevage & Races de France