Charolais Cattle

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The basics:
Charolais are a large, highly muscled beef cattle which were developed in the Charolais area of Burgundy, France. By the early 1800's the Charolais was prized for its quick growth and for its ability to pass on desirable traits when crossed with other beef breeds such as Hereford and Angus cattle.

Charolais were first introduced to the United States in the 1940s, and soon became a favored breed for producing meat with minimal fat content. The breed is also popular in Australia and Canada.

Appearance / health:
Charolais are large cattle that are typically horned, although polled animals have often appeared from upgraded breeding with polled breeds. They are generally white in color (although red and black variations sometimes emerge) with a short coat in the summer and a thick and long one in winter. Characteristic of the adult Charolais is its well-defined musculature, especially in the loin and hind areas. Mature bulls can weigh up to 2500 lbs.

Like other livestock, cattle require regular vaccinations and inoculations (for example, rabies inoculations) for disease prevention and health management. Similar to other mammals, cows can suffer a variety of ailments and health issues. A veterinarian should be on call and provide regular checkups and monitoring for the entire herd.

Behavior / temperament:
Charolais are considered docile animals by some, especially those who have bred the flighty, aggressive traits out of this breed. Most of the time though, they can be high-strung and flighty animals, this more pronounced if the cattle are not handled in a calm, quiet manner.

Charolais are known to adapt to hot climates, but in most cases require good to excellent quality pasture to subsist on without much additional supplementation. Some cattle of this breed may be able to do well on pasture considered less than ideal.

Housing / diet:
Housing for cattle is essentially to give them shelter from extreme weather conditions. Barns, rub-in sheds, stalls, and other structures like windbreaks, should be available where the cows graze. Aside from manmade shelters, trees and tall bushes can provide resting places for cattle to minimize heat stroke or wind chill.

Shelters will give the cows the option to seek safe haven from strong winds, extreme heat or cold, and heavy rains. Shelters should be strong, stable, spacious, well ventilated, and waterproof. Barns should be provided with water supply, and stalls should be lined with hay. They should also be cleaned regularly.

Sprinklers and other cooling systems are recommended for areas that overheat during summer months. Professional and humane fencing should be provided. All poisonous plants should be removed from the pasture; and hay should always be kept dry (wet hay grows molds, becoming a health hazard for cows).

A good quality pasture for grazing is the basic dietary requirement of cattle. The recommended pasture size per cow is 10 acres, without which, the diet should be supplemented with hay. The recommended quantity of hay is an average of 2% of the animal’s body weight per day (or 2 lbs. of hay per 100 lbs. of body weight). Supplements include grain mixes, protein and mineral cubes, and salt blocks, depending on the type of cow, its uses, and the local climate.

Providing a constant supply of fresh water is essential. An adult cow consumes an estimate of up to 20 gallons of water per day.


high-quality calves, excellent mothers, meat quality, muscle mass, good growth rate


handling, temperament traits, aggression issues, sunburn, hot climates


cattle easy keepers, 4H members, immense frame, profitability Charolais genetics, big continental breed

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