Sheep breeds

Troupeau de brebis Corse
Troupeau de brebis Corse - Crédit : OS Brebis Corse
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The Corsican ewe, whose population is primarily concentrated on its native island although there are some flocks in mainland France, was traditionally bred in the high-altitude pastureland of the Corsican mountains.

It can now also be found in coastal plain farms that have forage resources available, but its traits remain those of a mountain breed. Very hardy, able to cover wide distances and draw on its energy reserves in the event of a food shortage, it can easily be bred in a total free-range system in arid transhumance routes and pastures.

Despite breeding conditions that are often harsh and its small build, the mean lactation of Corsican ewes frequently exceeds 100-120 litres, with output rates that hold steady. It exceeds 150 litres in breeding systems where feeding is steadier.

Its milk, which is rich in milk solids, is most often earmarked for producing Brocciu, a Corsican cheese that was granted an AOC in 1983.


The selection programme for the Corsican breed started in 1986, with pedigree selection of rams. After testing in breeding centres, the first progeny testing of rams was organized starting in 1996.

Selection objectives currently focus on increasing milk production while preserving the breed’s hardiness. Secondary trait criteria that breeders appreciate, like ease of milking in particular, are thus considered in type-proofing dams selected to birth rams.


Key figures

  • 89,000 ewes
  • 14,700 ewes under on-farm performance recording system
  • 13,153 ewes under official on-farm performance recording system
  • 6,633 artificial inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    35 to 40 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    60 to 70 kg
  • Milk yield: 137.7 liters (in 182 days)

Official milk recording results 2014 - Institut de l’Elevage & CNBL