Charolais cows: description, care and feeding

Unpretentious breed with fast growth and meat of excellent quality - this is exactly the Charolais breed of meat. She has been more than two hundred years old, but she has not lost her relevance now. Consider the main characteristics of this French breed, the conditions of its maintenance and nutrition.

Breed description

This breed was bred in the 13th century in the French county of Charolais by crossing local breeds with Simmental cattle. Then in the nineteenth century it was improved by representatives of the Shorthorn breed. It is still considered one of the most productive meat breeds of cattle and has the following indicators.

Did you know? Charolais cows, although they belong to the meat industry, can produce milk about 1800-2400 kg / year. Its quality is also quite acceptable - 4% fat.

Description of the breed can be seen in the following table.

HornsLong, rounded
HeadSmall with a wide forehead
NeckShort and fleshy
ChestDeep and wide
BodyLong and deep, rectangular
MuscleLoose, well developed back and back
LimbsLow and strong, have the correct setting
WoolLong, thin
SuitWhite, creamy white, light fawn. No stains
Height at the withers135-145 cm

Advantages and disadvantages

  • The advantages of this meat breed include the following:
    • excellent meat productivity;
    • good transmission of heredity;
    • almost 200 years of tribal history;
    • the ability to use as draft power;
    • tender lean meat;
    • the ability to use bulls on the tribe to improve other large breeds of meat or meat and milk;
    • females bring offspring up to 15 years;
    • strong maternal instinct. After calving, the burenka itself takes care of the calves until they get stronger;
    • a good set of mass - gobies can be slaughtered at the age of 4 months;
    • usually calm disposition;
    • unpretentiousness to feed;
    • keeping herds on pastures in warm time contributes to cost savings on feed;
    • along with meat, it gives good milk yield of decent quality;
    • ability to quickly acclimatize.

  • The disadvantages of the Charolais breed include the following:
    • heavy calving;
    • the impossibility of using bull seed of this breed for smaller breeds, since it increases the likelihood of the birth of a large calf, which can create serious problems for a cow during pregnancy and calving;
    • calves have heart failure;
    • prone to hypertrophy of the back, which leads the heifers to infertility;
    • during the period of nursing the calves, the animal may show aggression;
    • for a small private household, they are not particularly suitable, since they don’t give much milk, and because of the large size and sometimes aggressive disposition, not every owner shares them.

Maintenance and care

In winter Charolais is overgrown with wool and can tolerate cold weather even in the open air. This is a pasture breed and grazing should be arranged during the whole warm period. In a climate with mild winters, this breed can be found almost all year in a shelter under a canopy.

Did you know? In 4.5 months, about 200 kg of meat can already be obtained from a Charolais bull. They steadily build up mass for the first two years, and their lean meat is considered dietary. Excellent taste is not lost with age and is present in older individuals.

Summer playground

An open summer playground allows you to keep Charolais at the lowest economic cost. For this, a shelter with canopies is equipped, equipped with feeders and drinking bowls. Awnings in the summer protect animals from hot sunlight and rain. By the cold period, under the awnings, a straw flooring is arranged, which is stamped with urine. This starts a biological process in which heat is released, warming the charolais in winter. The thickness of such a flooring should reach 50 cm. During the winter time, more than 1 to 3 kg of straw is added per individual.

This method of keeping beef cattle is suitable in regions with mild winters, and when it is necessary to organize calving in January-April, so that the cows are better prepared for the winter, and young animals are accustomed to eating plant foods.

Settlement of a barn

In regions with frosty winters, you should take care of the equipped barn. Stalls in such a cowshed should be made large enough for such a large meat breed. They should be planned and made on the basis of such dimensions - a width of 1.5 m and a length of 2 m. Various materials can be used for them, but it would be optimal to take metal structures or wood, since they are easy to dismantle and transfer to another place.

Important! If you decide to stay on wooden products for fencing stalls and making feeders, then you should stop on a pine and oak. Such wood tolerates a temperature difference, does not lend itself to decay and bacterial diseases.

Each stall should be equipped with two feeders for dry and wet food, as well as a drinking bowl. For dry food, you can make a design of rods, and for wet use a galvanized bucket or plastic basin. It is advisable to think of fixed removable feeders and drinking bowls so that it is convenient to remove and wash them.

It is necessary to make a flooring of hay of 15–20 cm. The floor must be done with a slight slope towards the gutter for feces.

Conditions of detention

The optimum temperature in the barn during cold weather is considered to be a range from 10 to 20 ° C, but this breed can tolerate a cooler temperature regime. If the ambient temperature is too high, animals tend to lose weight. Therefore, it is also necessary to provide good ventilation without drafts. Optimum humidity is considered 75%.

Ventilation is done depending on the type of room and may be as follows:

  • natural - when using door or window openings, hatches;
  • forced - when using specialized equipment.
The best way to ventilate is considered to be a combination of these two types to eliminate drafts that are unhealthy for livestock.

Regular cleaning of the stall and equipment

When the cows are in the pasture during the summer, the stall for maintenance equipment is cleaned every 7 days. In winter, cleaning is done daily. It is optimal to clean the barn three times a day, but you can only do evening cleaning.

In large farms, water drainage is used to clean the premises. Often equip a self-alloy system, which is a slippery system at an angle. Such cleaning is carried out 2 times a day before milking the cows. After cleaning manure, care must be taken to keep the litter, feeders and drinkers clean.

Important! In case of detection of sick animals, on the recommendation of a veterinarian, an unscheduled urgent disinfection of the premises and equipment should be carried out.

Litter is changed every 1-3 days. Disinfection of dry food feeders is carried out several times during the month, but drinkers need more frequent and thorough care in order to avoid the appearance of harmful microorganisms. Complete disinfection of the premises for keeping cows with the treatment of all surfaces (walls, floors) should be carried out several times a year on large farms.

What to feed

This breed is unpretentious to feed and gives a good gain even in the hay. To achieve high performance, optimal feeding should be provided. In the summer, grazing is necessary. For the intake of the necessary substances in the barn, a special salt lick is equipped.

Summer grazing in the pasture

Charolais cows are unpretentious in care and even in the cold period cows and gobies can be on the walk. These animals are unpretentious in terms of nutrition - any feed for cattle is suitable for them. In warm times they prefer grazing on pastures. The basis of nutrition during this period are meadow herbs, leaves and twigs of shrubs.

Sample cow ration:
  • roughage. They make up the bulk of the entire diet (more than 50%). This is hay, straw, grass, husk and husk;
  • stabilizing to replenish energy (vegetables);
  • compound feed (do not give cows).

In addition to meadow grasses, cows are given hay in the summer based on a proportion of 1 kg to 1 kg body weight. During milking, the cows are given a mixture of feed from grain, following the norm - 0.5 kg per 1 kg of weight. For weight gain, the bulls are given 1–2 kg of production feed per day, which are distributed among the feeders.

As a top dressing, you can give compound feed, sunflower meal, vegetables (beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes, etc.). It should be noted that potatoes are a good prevention of bloating for cattle and must be given in early spring.

Winter Feeding Diet

In winter, cows are given hay and silage instead of fresh grass. Gobies during this period put on fattening, using a silo technique. Silo in its composition contains grass, vegetables, corn, sunflower. Root crops are perfect for top dressing.

In winter, the body of cows needs the necessary vitamins and minerals. For their intake, special fortified additives are added to the diet, which are mixed into the feed. Given that calving of cows occurs in the winter period, they need to ensure the intake during lactation of babies for lactation with chalk, bone meal and other elements.

It should be noted that food waste in the form of peeling vegetables (especially potatoes) with the addition of bread crumbs is a good top dressing for weight gain and significantly saves finances.


When grazing in the summer, they try to choose pasture near water sources, but they must take water for analysis. If it is not suitable for drinking, then the flock is distilled away from such a source of drinking. In this case, the herd is watered in the morning before the pasture and before milking in the middle of the day. Cows need to be provided with plentiful drink.

Did you know? Each adult cattle produces approximately 10 tons of feces per year. Since rotten cow manure is an excellent fertilizer, it makes sense for farmers involved in cattle to build a dung beet in their farm.

Water should be warm and clean. In the warm period, it is necessary to drink up to 60 liters per head, and in the cold - up to 40 liters. The preferred water temperature is 16-17 ° C. In the cold period, the drink is heated to the required degree.

Charolais is not in vain a record holder for the release of high-quality meat products, and even from not young individuals. With all this, the cows of this breed are still able to produce a considerable amount of milk, as for representatives of the meat industry. They often have difficulty breeding due to the large size of the calves - they often have to use a cesarean, therefore it is better to invite a veterinarian to the birth. This unpretentious breed in a mild climate can just be kept in a pen with canopies and be on pasture in the summer.

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