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🐑 French Herding Vocabulary

Emilie By Emilie - updated on Jul 7, 2020
french herding vocabulary

Learn how to say herd and flock in French and the French herding vocabulary as a list of French terms with English translation.

1 – How Do You Say Herd in French?

The French translation for a herd or a flock is “un troupeau”. Plural: des troupeaux.

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2 – French Herding Vocabulary

  1. Le bétail – livestock
  2. Les bêtes – the animals
  3. Une brebis – a ewe
  4. Un mouton – a sheep
  5. Des brebis/des moutons – sheep (plural)
  6. Un agneau – a lamb
  7. Un bélier – a ram
  8. La bergerie – the sheepyard/sheepfold
  9. Un enclos – a paddock
  10. Un berger, une bergère – shepherd/shepherdess
  11. La tonte – the shearing (of sheep)/the fleece one it’s shorn
  12. La toison – the fleece/wool (on the sheep)
  13. Tondre – to shear (also to crop your hair and also to mow the lawn)
  14. Une chèvre – a goat
  15. Une vache – a cow
  16. Un veau – a calf
  17. Un vacher – cowherd/cowboy
  18. Une estive = un pâturage dans les Pyrénées – the mountain pastures in the Pyrenees (where the farm animals go for the summer)
  19. Paître – to graze (grazing generally, and seen from afar)
  20. Brouter – to graze (the actual “eating” of the pasture)
  21. Le pastoralisme – pastoralism/animal husbandary
  22. Les éleveurs – breeder/livestock farmer (eg sheep)/raiser (eg cattle)
  23. Élever – to breed/raise
  24. Marquer le bétail – to brand the animal
  25. La transhumance – the seasonal “migration” of farm animals to mountain pastures
  26. Transhumer – to go to the mountains over summer (farm animals and their “carers” – not to go there on holiday!!)
  27. « Oh, la vache » ! – Holy Cow!!
  28. “Revenons à nos moutons” – Let’s get back on track!
    This expression dates back to the Middle Ages in French (after a line in a medieval farce called “La Farce de Maitre Pathelin” and was used in the early 1900’s in English as “Let us return to our muttons”.)
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Can You Understand Today’s Spoken French?

It’s not just slang. The French everybody speaks in France today is NOT the overly enunciated, extremely formal French usually taught to foreigners.