The Algarve Churro is a breed of sheep that was developed in Southern regions of Portugal. This is a very rare variety of domesticated breed that are mainly raised for meat production.
|Physical Characteristics||Most of the Algarve Churros are white with black spots on the feet, head and face; males grow to a height of about 95 cm at the withers, while the females are 85 cm|
|Personality Traits||Docile, tamable, prolific|
|Wool Color||Dense fleece; rarely the hair is dark|
|Horn Status||Both male and female have horns|
|Uses||Mostly for meat (also for wool)|
|Litter Size||1.2 (average)|
|Weight (size)||Ram: 75 kg;
Ewe: 55 kg
|Diet||Grass, stubble of cultivated crops, tree leaves, fodders and grains|
|Country of Origin||Portugal|
The Algarve Churro sheep was developed from the sheep breed ‘Andalusian Churro’. It was imported in the latter half of the 19th century – between 1870 and 1890. However, in recent times, there has been a decrease in their population.
In 1996, the population count was higher than 23,000, while in less than a decade’s time, it went down to around 1300 in 2004.
The Algarve Churro sheep are primarily found and bred in Faro, a region in Portugal.
Meat and Wool Production
Although known for their production of fine quality wool, they are primarily bred for mutton. Their meat is popular for being tender and tasty with good nutritional value. An adult, healthy Algarve Churro can produce about 50-56 kg of meat.
While a lamb of age 30 weeks would yield 1.35 kg wool, an average adult sheep would produce around 2 kilos.
The female Alvarge Churros are marginally fertile and prolific, and can give birth to up to 3 lambs at a time. At birth, the body weight of a lamb is approximately 4 kg for singles, 3.3 for twins, and 2.8 for triplets. Most of them attain an average weight of 26 kilos by the time they are 30 weeks old.
- About 10% of these sheep are completely black.
- The wool from this breed of sheep is specially known to be a fine material for making expensive carpets.
- The word ‘churro’ means ‘coarse wool’ in Portugese.