Texel sheep are one of the most common sheep in the world when it comes to the commercial sector. The breed is highly adaptable and can make a home anywhere and deliver it successfully. They can also blend with other sheep breeds and this makes it easy for a ranch farmer.
The breed does not rely on heavy feeding as they thrive on natural vegetation in the highlands and pastures in the lowlands. When crossed with other breeds, they pass valuable traits to the offspring. In this guide, we will look at the appearance, characteristics, and other features to get a better understanding.
Origin of The Texel Sheep
The exact location of the origin of the Texel sheep is unknown. However, it is a domestic sheep from the Netherlands said to have originated from the island of Texel. This is a large island on the north coasts of the Netherlands.
It is thought that the breed is a cross of several English breeds. They may possibly have different names in other places. They include; Texelaar, Improved Texel, Verbeterde Texelse and Texelse.
Texel sheep have been made popular meat sheep in the Netherlands. They make close to 70% of the national flock in the Netherlands. They are also common meat sheep in New Zealand, Europe, Australia, and Uruguay.
How Does a Texel Sheep Look Like?
Texel sheep have a unique look that makes them easy to identify. They have a white, short face placed on a short neck. The nose is short and black, while the ears are widely placed on the head.
The wool is white, spreading all over the body except on the legs and head. This is unlike the other sheep species, who always have wool on their legs. The hooves are black. The body is described to be medium-sized that is well proportioned and rectangular.
Texel’s most distinctive feature is remarkable muscle development and leanness. This means the sheep breed lean, although they are heavily muscled. Their muscle: bone ratio is ideal with much less carcass fat compared to the other breeds.
Lambs of the breed show advantage over the other breeds as the genes are passed from the parent to the young one. The wool is medium grade lacking black fibers. The fleece of a mature sheep will weigh between 3.5kg to 5.5kg.
What is their Size and Growth Rate?
The ewes of Texel sheep have a good milk yielding, thus allowing the young ones to grow fast. The lambs can grow at an average of 250 grams a day. At 12 weeks (weaning), the average weight is 25 kg.
They will average 44 kg on average during the slaughtering age (24 weeks). The mature ewes are medium-sized and can weigh between 140-185 pounds, while the mature rams weigh between 190-240 pounds.
The breed is easy to keep and take care of as they thrive on grass.
- This is a meat sheep breed. It is therefore mainly raised for meat production.
- Their body is covered in wool, thus they can be sheared for the wool.
The Texel sheep are one of the most behaved sheep breeds in the world. They are gentle, curious in nature, and easy to workaround. They also tend to be easily nervous or excited.
Meat and Carcass
This is the most recognized feature of a Texel sheep breed and we need to understand it better. It is a remarkable way in which leanness and muscle development are still maintained. Most of the other sheep species have a lot of fat that is not proportionate to the muscles.
Research from the renowned University of Wisconsin and Clay Center have shown Texel Lambs exhibit a 6-9% upper hand in their loin-eye area compared to the other American breeds. You will find many Texel breeders nowadays scanning the loin eye as a breeding selection tool. Four square inches are common with five square-inch eyes not being so common.
The Texel lamps show one leg full score in comparison with the black-faced lambs. They also have lesser carcass fat. This is especially the seam fat which is hard to trim during the fabrication process. I think everyone would go for the Texel Sheep now.
In the trials, the Texel lambs grew slower compared to the black-faced lambs. However, the sheep’s feeding efficiency was way better than the black-faced lambs. The results showed that the Texels needed a lesser feed to produce a gain of 60#.
Breeding and Advantages
A mature female Texel first comes to heat at about 7 months of age. They are strong enough to hold up pregnancy at this age. Usually, it will take about 5 months to deliver. Each ewe averages 1.7 lambs.
The important thing is their lambing frequency and transfer of genes to the young ones. All the qualities of the Texel parents you will find in the lambs. The ewes provide a high milk yield and are excellent mothers. You are thus sure of your lambs growing to the fullest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Texel Sheep Best for Meat Production?
The build of the Texel sheep is the main reason for their popularity. In Europe, they are the most commonly used breed in meat production. The muscle to fat ratio is also one of the best in the world making them suitable for meat production.
How is Texel Sheep Wool Like?
The wool is described as medium grade with no black fibers in it. The fleece of a mature sheep will weigh between 3.5 kg and 5.5 kg. The wool can be used for knitting wools and sometimes the production of high-quality carpets. It is rare to find people breeding Texels for wool, the focus remains on meat production.
How Many Lambs Does a Texel Sheep Have?
The lambs are always active at birth with a great will to survive as much as they can. The average breeding for each ewe is 1.7 lambs. There are special occasions where the rate goes higher than that, and of course, everyone would like such a situation.
The Texel Sheep breed is popular because they have outstanding features. They are great meat producers, can survive a variety of climates, and are easy to handle. Who would not want such a sheep? You can find them on ranches in the UK as they are very popular. Others you can buy through websites like Preloved. I hope you have learned a lot about the Texel sheep.