Sheep breeds

Jeunes béliers Tarasconnais - Crédit : OS Ovines des Pyrénées Central
Jeunes béliers Tarasconnais - Crédit : OS Ovines des Pyrénées Central
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The Tarasconnaise, whose native home region is located in the Ariège, is now mainly found in the central Pyrenees (Ariège, Hautes Pyrénées).

This breed is particularly well-adapted to farming system that use transhumance: it can cover wide distances, handle sharp temperature variations well, and adapt to changes in forage resources. After wintering in sheepfolds, the flocks progressively climb to summer pastures, reaching the highest pastures (1,200 m) around June.

Rams stay with the flock and siring can continue during transhumance, which spreads lambing across the year. However, the bulk of production is still grazer lambs sold after the flocks come down from summer pastures.


The objectives of the breeding program are to improve suckling abilities and the capacity to lamb out of season. Conjointly, it seeks to maintain hardiness, which is necessary for a breed that practices transhumance, and continues to work on animal conformation and growth.

Selection is based on dam’s evaluation, which enables identification of the ram dams that are subsequently used in planned mating. The young rams that result from these planned matings are integrated into breeding centers after being selected on phenotype. The best rams will be used for artificial insemination, while the others are propagated as sires for natural servicing in the selection flocks.


Key figures

  • 130,000 ewes
  • 41 flocks under official performance recording system
  • 9,574 ewes under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 849 artificial inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    60 to 70 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    80 to 100 kg
  • Prolificacy after natural estrus: 1.2
  • 30-day weight (singleton male): 12.0 kg
  • 70-day weight (singleton male): 22.3 kg
  • Average Daily Gain 30-70 days (singleton male): 265 g

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


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