Sheep on the Causses highlands
Sheep are the emblematic farm animals of the Grands Causses region in Lozère. Accustomed to limestone soil, poor in water and therefore in grassland, they have the necessary physique to live in this very particular environment.
For millennia shepherds had herds on the Causse de Sauveterre and the Causse Méjean plateaus. Their traces are still scattered around the paths: jasses, cazelles, clapas ... This heritage, now classified at UNESCO, has forged the identity of the Grands Causses highlands.
Today, many herds still inhabit the plateaus. Farmers make their own sheep cheese, or supply milk to various dairies in the area. The Massegros is home to the world's largest sheep milk processing dairy. In particular, Feta Salakis and Lou Peyrac are made there. Part of the dairy processes organic milk to manufacture the Lou Passou Organic cheese.
If agro-pastoral techniques have evolved today, current farming methods continue to mark the landscape. As such, the sheep graze in the devèzes and in the fertile sinkholes, while wooded areas are kept so that the sheep do not “heat up” during the hottest hours of the day. Ewes are said to "heat up" when a flock of sheep stays together at a standstill without eating, which is not good for milk production.