In the Manche, the Avranchin sheep is developing

In the Manche, the Avranchin sheep is developing
In the Manche, the Avranchin sheep is developing

The Avranchine breed is reestablishing itself in its original cradle, the Manche, thanks to the establishment of a new breeding center on the Rocher sheepfold, in Saint-Senier-sous-Avranches. These are 11 rams of the year which were selected from eight different farms, more particularly in the south of the Channel, with a view to becoming future breeders of the breed. They will be pampered by Étienne Leroy, farmer from the Rocher site.

Around fifteen rams sold

This breeding center complements the one located in Calvados, in Bonneville-la-Louvet. Claire Lebailly welcomed around fifteen rams between October 2023 and last week. They were sold by the pallet on May 19 so that breeders could acquire new breeding stock. They were weighed regularly, every three weeks, analyzed and scored according to the breed standard, eating qualities and even functional qualities.

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New breeders

Those from the Saint-Senier-sous-Avranches breeding center will benefit from the same attention and the same monitoring with an on-sale date of July 28, 2024 in Avranches. “We need to relocate the breed to Avranchin”, recognizes Emmanuel Legrand, president of the section within the selection and “find new breeders to meet the needs of breeders”, he adds. And for good reason, in 2023, 13 new breeders will be installed (three in Manche, three in Orne, three in Seine-Maritime, two in Calvados, one in Eure and one in Brittany). A total of 174 breeding ewes were needed. This makes it possible to increase the numbers again, namely 1,915 ewes recorded on the OS and outside the OS, owned by 103 breeders including 48 Oscar members. That’s almost 30 more than in 2018. “One of our priorities is to install new breeders. Aurélie Bourrassin, secretary of Oscar Avranchin.”

Professional herds

This development reflects a professionalization of herds, or a diversification of breeders or even an interest in wool. “For five years, our installation strategy has focused on increasing the number of breeders by distributing available ewe lambs and ewes to significantly increase the total Avranchins herd,” notes Aurélie Bourrassin, secretary of the section, who is delighted to “being able to start breeders with larger flocks. A few years ago, having a herd of 30 mothers was not possible”, she adds.

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A new census

And to better understand the numbers, the Avranchin section is renewing its census. “Like last year, we would like to take stock of the lambs and ewes available for the installation of new breeders. This information is essential to advance our breed. This precise inventory allows us to know exactly where we are in the progress of saving the Avranchin sheep”, explains the secretary, a breeder in Marchésieux. And given the numbers for 2023, “we are going to pass the 2,000 breeding mark in July”, rejoices Aurélie Bourrassin who can only encourage breeders to transmit their data in order to have dairy values, and continue the development of the breed in Manche and in the other departments. “This is how we can continue to qualify and register the entire Avranchin herd.”, she concludes. Along with the Cotentin and the Roussin, the Avranchin is one of the three sheep breeds of the Manche region.