Rambouillet Sheep

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Rambouillet Sheep breed is as a dual-purpose breed, with superior wool and mutton breed characteristics. Well known for its wool and its meat, both lamb and mutton. Rambouillets are large-sized, rugged and long-lived with a strong flocking instinct which produces a desirable carcass and good fine wool. 

Rambouillet sheep is fine-wool breed developed in France from the Spanish Merino sheep. The Rambouillet is the “backbone” of the American Sheep Industry, forming the foundation of most western range flocks and raised throughout the United States.

The history of the Rambouillet sheep is developed from selections of a few hundred of the best Merino sheep of Spain in 1786 and 1799 by the French government at its national sheepfold at Rambouillet, France. An estimated 50% of the sheep on the US western ranges are of Rambouillet blood.

Delaine Merino is the cloth made of a mixed fabric of cotton warp and wool weft of Rambouillet.

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Rambouillet Sheep Characteristics

The Rambouillet breed has a white face and white legs. The face-covering of wool is rather heavy, even to the extent of causing wool blindness in some specimens, but selective mating has alleviated this problem. Face should be free from wool around and under the eyes to ensure good vision.

Eyes are large and clear. Eyelashes are light in color. There is no pigmentation on the ears, they are medium in length.

Horns are well developed with wide spirals to prevent crowding neck and jaw.

Rams are strong, bold and masculine. Ewes are distinctly feminine and refined.

Neck and Shoulders are free from folds and medium length. They are not prominent, blend well around the shoulders.

The chest is broad, deep and full. Back & Loin – Strong, straight and broad. Long in length with a long, wide loin and a thick, natural flesh covering throughout.

Ribs are well sprung, wide, and deep, with a full heart girth assuring good capacity for vital organs.

Legs are thickly muscled and free from folds. Hooves are amber-colored and free from excess pigmentation. Legs move freely and of medium length.

Rambouillet characteristics of body appearance are deep and widebodies. Rams are strongly masculine and Ewes are distinctly feminine.

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Fleeces of Rambouillet sheep are relatively heavy, attractive, bright, uniform, the dense fleece of high yielding, long-staple, fine wool. Fleece color varies from cream to white in color. Forehead covered, but not wooled sufficiently around eyes to obstruct vision. Free from objectionable fibers. Sheep in good condition should produce a minimum of 4 ½ inches for 12 months of growth. The fleece staple length will vary from two to five inches (5-10 cm).

Mature ewes will have a fleece weight of 8 to 18 pounds (3.6-8.1 kg) with a yield of 35 to 55 percent. The fleece will be as dense as possible (Maximum number of fibers per square inch of body surface). Belly well covered and minimum bare areas in the flanks and armpits. 

The lambs grow rapidly under good feeding conditions to produce satisfactory market weights at from six to nine months of age. Mature Rambouillet rams weigh between 250 and 300 pounds (113-135 kg), ewes range from 150 to 200 pounds (68-90 kg).  

Rambouillet ewes are crossbred extensively with medium-wool and long-coarse-wool rams to produce choice market lambs and rugged breeding ewes with heavy, attractive medium wool.

Rambouillet Sheep selection

Do not buy Rambouillet Ram or ewe if you find any of these in them.

  • Abnormal development of male genitals.
  • Unsound udder or inverted teats.
  • Overshot or undershot jaw.
  • Black spot in the fleece.
  • Rolled under eyelids.
  • Weak pasterns.
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Rambouillet Sheep Benefits

The ability of the Rambouillet to produce both meat and wool of high quality, with little feed and at a wide range of temperatures, are the key factors to maximizing breeders’ profits per acre.

The average ewe will shear about ten pounds or more of wool each year. The wool of Rambouillet produces a premium price in the market.

The excellent foundation on a crossbreeding program.  Rambouillet ewes are crossbred extensively with medium-wool and long-coarse-wool rams to produce choice market lambs and rugged breeding ewes with heavy, attractive medium wool.

Well developed flocking instinct to band together in open areas, so easy to care.

Great adaptability to hot and cold climates, and a variety of forage conditions

Good milkers with strong maternal instinct.

Superior out-of-season breeders are suitable for an accelerated lambing program.

Rambouillet Sheep Facts

Mature rams weigh about 250-300 lbs. (110 kg to 135 kg)

Mature ewes weigh about 150-200 lbs. (65 kg to 90 kg)

Lifespan can be upwards of 10-12 years.

The average ewe will have 1-2 lambs per birth. The average ewe may lamb more than once per year. Mature ewe fleece will weigh 8 to 18 lbs with a yield of 35-55 %.

The wool of Rambouillet is known for its superior, long-staple, dense, fine wool. A light-shrinking staple of three inches or better results in greater thread length hence more thread produced per pound of wool.

Fine wool means the threads are thinner and finer, again resulting in a higher thread count. The wool produces a premium price in the market. The average ewe will shear about ten pounds or more of wool each year. This wool is used in finer, worsted fabrics and choice scarves.

Some Rambouillet breeders just prefer Horned rams over Polled rams. No matter what purpose the ram is used for, there is no difference in performance on tests – in the show ring, or in the flock. Big, hardy and vigorous. Great adaptability to hot and cold climates, and a variety of forage conditions. Will travel long distances to forage.

Good gains on the grass. The excellent foundation on a crossbreeding program. Ewes are prolific.

Excellent wool production.

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Known as the “Dual Purpose” breed with excellent fleece and weight gains.

Ewes have less lambing difficulties with less death of offspring and ewe as a result.

Well developed flocking instinct to band together in open areas Easy to handle in yards, chutes and sorting facilities Resistance to internal parasites and disease Grazing animals needing minimal labor. This equals less input of labor and capital, fewer health expenses resulting in more profits!

Rambouillet Sheep Temperament

Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.”They instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.

As domesticated animals, sheep make good pets because they are docile and easily connect with humans, especially lambs that are bottle-fed.

Rambouillet Sheep Video

Brief characteristics of Rambouillet Sheep

Breed NameRambouillet sheep
Other NameRambouillet Marino
Country/Place of OriginFrance
Breed PurposeMeat and wool
Breed Sizemedium
Weight
Ram(Male)    
113 kg -135 kg
Ewe(Female)68 kg – 90 kg
Kiddingone to two lambs
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing  and Stall-fed
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
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