The Texel is a breed of domestic sheep originally from the island of Texel in the Netherlands. A heavily muscled sheep, it produces a lean meat carcass and will pass on this quality to crossbred progeny. The wool is around 32 micrometres and is mostly used for hosiery yarns and knitting wools. It is presently a popular lean meat sheep across Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
- Breed Size: Medium to large
- Horns: No
- Climate Tolerance: All climates
- Color: White, light brown
- Rarity: Common
- Country/Place of Origin: Netherlands
Texel sheep is a medium to large sized animal with white face. It has no wool on the head or legs. It is easily characterized by a distinctive short, wide face with a black nose and widely placed, short ears with a nearly horizontal carriage. Hooves of these animals are black. Most notable and outstanding characteristic of these animals is their remarkable muscle development and leanness.
The Texel originated on the Isle of Texel off the coast of The Netherlands early in the nineteenth century. The original Old Texel was probably a short-tailed variety of sheep. Limited importations of Lincoln and Leicester Longwool were crossed with this stock during the mid-1800’s. The characteristics of the breed were established early on through a series of local showing competitions on the island.
The emphasis was on a sheep that would produce heavily muscled lambs of superior eating quality. Since the primary market for these lambs was Continental Europe where excess fat on meat cuts has always been unpopular, significant effort was also made to produce a sheep that had a low propensity for fat deposition.
The Texel is hardy, tough and docile. Ewes are frugal and proven to excel in grass-based rearing systems. Lambs are famously vigorous at birth with a great will to survive. The breed is moderately prolific with 1.7 lambs per ewe.
Because of the breed’s adaptability and excellent carcase quality, which it passes on to first cross progeny, Texel rams have become the UK producer’s preferred choice of Terminal Sire, in particular the increasing number of recorded rams, which deliver reliable performance in all environments. Changes in the growth potential of Texel sheep have been immense since the initial imports during the seventies enhancing both the efficiency and profitability of carcase production from Texel sired lambs.
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