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Origins and natural aptitudes
French breed originally from the Berry region, the BERRICHON DE L’INDRE was created towards the end of the 19th century during the wool crisis, but remained close nevertheless to the old breed of the Berrichon sheep.
It is used in crossbreeding with breeds such as the ILE DE FRANCE to produce lambs with a heavy carcass (20kg) without excess fat.
Savoury qualities: the meat tastes exceptionally good
Early finishing: a fairly fast finisher, the ADG between 30 and 70 days of a male lamb, born single is 330g
Natural year round fertility : The natural year round fertility of the ewes allows a great flexibility of production with 60% of lambs born September to November from a natural rather than hormonally induced oestrus cycle. Combined with the excellent prolificacy (1.719) of the BERRICHON DE L’INDRE, this production out of season is an important strength of the breed.
Adaptability: The breed adapts well to indoor and semi-outdoor production or finishing lambs outside on grass.
The national flock number is low, thus the genetic programme consists of conservation of the standards of the breed and management of the bloodlines within the flock. The ram evaluation centre in the Brenne ensures that the diffusion of the breeding stock is well used and well thought-out.
It is an animal easily managed on grass, doing well in difficult areas, managing on rough grazing, whilst having good breeding qualities. It is therefore used both in purebred and cross breeding systems. It is often the ewe which is used to produce lambs of good conformation for the meat trade all year round.
As with other breeds with a small national flock, managed by GEODE, the BERRICHON DE L’INDRE lambs are very sought after today for their natural strengths which farmers are rediscovering. It is advisable to reserve breeding stock early in the season by contract through GEODE.