An unusually large and beautiful Sharolese breed of cows at first sight attracts attention. The French cows of this species deservedly belong to the world elite of beef cattle. Giant bulls of light color with well-defined muscles and lean meat are bred everywhere. But there are no ideal animals, unfortunately. Therefore, we invite you together to find out what is so good about the French breed of cattle, what are its main advantages, and where are the drawbacks.
The pedigree of the breed has been dating back to the 18th century, according to legend since 1773. It was then that in eastern France, in the area of the city of Charolais, a whitish and very large breed of cows began to be developed. Initially, Charolais bulls were planning to use more as a force of force than as a source of meat. Over time, the component disappeared and the breeders concentrated only on increasing the weight and improving the quality of the meat.
The breeding book of the Charolais breed was instituted in 1864. In the 18th and the first half of the 19th century, selection was carried out only by crossing local French cows. Then they tried to add to them the breeds that lived in the foothills of the Alps, in particular, the Swiss cattle.
According to unverified data, closer to the 20th century, Sharolese cows were tried to cross with shorthorn and simmental bulls. But these attempts did not bring much success. As a result, the breed was left alone, and breeding is carried out only within the breeding stock. True, French individuals are still used to improve meat characteristics in other meat breeds.
In addition to large sizes, the breed can be recognized by whitish color. It varies from pure white to cream, no variegated patches you will not find here.
On the background of a massive body, and in comparison with other breeds, the head of animals is small and has a broad frontal part. The neck is short with folds. Chest wide to 70 cm and deep enough. Cows are not inclined to accumulate subcutaneous fat, so the muscles are clearly drawn on smooth-haired skin.
Animals have a long proportionally developed body with a slightly sagged back. In record holders, the girth in the chest area can reach up to 210 cm. With a high growth of up to 165 cm, the legs are short, straight and very muscular. The back is wide, sometimes roof-shaped. Noses and visible mucous membranes are either white or pink.
Characteristics of cows
The French cows of Charolais are a breed of exclusively meat-bearing cows, they give a maximum of 1,500-2,000 liters of milk per year, so it often goes to feed the calves.
The milk of these cows is of high quality. So, with an average fat content of about 4%, the protein concentration can reach up to 3.5%. This is one of the reasons for the rapid weight gain in young. The remaining data are as follows:
- The average weight of cows varies in the region of 600-800 kg, but there are separate record holders with a weight of up to a ton;
- meat output in cows is lower than that of bulls and is just over 60%;
- growth starts from 130 cm and can reach up to 155 cm;
- maximum for chest in girth is 190 cm.
The cows udder is small and most often has a cup shape, but sometimes cows with udders that look more like goats are found. The nature of animals is calm, but in the first months after giving birth, mothers may be aggressive while feeding calves.
What makes bulls different
Bulls of this breed, in comparison with bulls of other meat breeds, are really huge. The average height of an ordinary male is 160 cm, breeding producers can grow up to 170 cm. The maximum length of the body is 220 cm, while the chest width is about 80 cm. In the girth the chest reaches 210 cm.
In large meat farms with an intensive method of fattening, the slaughter weight of a bull is about 900 kg. They are cut in 16-18 months, but if you do not hurry and hold the animal at least up to 2 years, then the bull can gain up to 1100 and even 1200 kg. In breeding farms, Charolais bulls gain weight up to 1600 kg in 2.5-3 years.
The recorded weight record for males of this breed is 2 tons. Even with intensive fattening, they almost do not deposit subcutaneous fat, everything goes into muscle mass. The minimum productivity for meat is about 65%, but with good care, you can easily achieve 70%, and champions gave up to 80%.
Features of the young
Calves are born large, the average weight is in the region of 40-45 kg, there were cases when the weight of bulls at birth was 70 kg. But such a serious tribal mass of young animals is rather a minus than a plus. If a cow is pregnant with such a big calf, then the pathology during childbirth can reach up to 14%. According to statistics, in the first six months, up to 12% of the young with a large birth weight die.
But the calves have a sharol and good qualities. So, with the usual pasture fattening, even without combined supplements, they gain at least a kilogram of live weight per day. With a standard diet, but without excesses, weight gain reaches 1.5 kg per day. And if you intensively feed the bull for slaughter, you can achieve a result of 2 kg.
Eight-month-old calves are gaining about 300 kg, and the weight of a one-year-old bull can easily reach semitones. Plus, the output of meat from such livestock is about 70%.
The main advantage of the Charolais breed is the exceptional quality of meat. Low-fat marbled beef is a lean type. Cows for pasture and for normal growth do not require any special diet. As a result of almost two centuries of breeding, scientists managed to achieve a fairly high immunity of the main herd.
Another serious advantage is the invariance of meat quality with the age of the animal. Even old cows, after the end of childbearing age, give excellent beef.
Charolais cows live a long time, on average - 20 years, while up to 15 years they are able to actively give birth and raise offspring. When transported to warm regions, they quickly acclimatize.
The minuses of these cows are also missing. The most innocuous of them is a roof-shaped ass, but it is not often found. In our country, these cows can be bred only in the southern regions. In cold climates with stable housing, animals gain weight very poorly and are able to get frostbite at the slightest frost. But regardless of where they live, these cows have one of the highest percentages of pathologies during childbirth and illness in the postpartum period.
More often than in other breeds, there is a hypertrophy of the posterior part of Charolais.
However, despite everything, Sharolese cows are deservedly considered the pearl of French animal husbandry. In our country, many also show interest in this breed.
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