BEAVER CREEK FARM TEXEL SHEEP




 

TEXEL SHEEP


We have BRITISH TEXEL sheep

After being involved with Piedmontese cattle for fifteen years, and knowing there is absolutely no better beef than their low calorie, low fat, high protein and tender meat, it was a clear choice to expand into Texel sheep.  Texel sheep also have a mutation involving myostatin, but in their case, the myostatin is normal, but expressed in reduced levels.  The result is more meat - less fat - more taste and tenderness.  After researching the breed, we purchased our foundation animals from Portland Prairie, whose animals are based on many generations of animals produced by artificial insemination of top ewes with imported British Texel semen.      

 

BRIEF HISTORY OF TEXEL SHEEP & INFORMATION

HISTORY

 

The Texel originated on the Isle of Texel off the coast of The Netherlands early in the nineteenth century. Because of the harsh and often bleak conditions they have had to develop invaluable characteristics. They have gained the ability to thrive despite a short growing season and often poor quality pasture, meaning they have had to become very efficient at feed conversion and growing no waste. It is well known in many countries as a breed which transmits its qualities to its progeny when used for crossing purposes.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.

There are many kinds of Texel sheep, including Dutch, English, and French. The English Texel sheep tend to be taller animals while the Dutch Texel sheep have very short legs and heavy muscling. The first Texels in the United States were imported by the Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center, NE in 1985. After a five-year quarantine, some were released for purchase by private individuals in 1990 and subsequent years. The Texels imported into New Zealand were sourced from Denmark and Finland because of their scrapie-free status.  These animals have been selected for multiple births, foot rot and parasite resistance, and easy lambing.

 

 

All of the Texel sheep will carry one thing in common:

 

         Remarkable Muscle Development, Weight Gain and Leanness!


Breed standards that breeders of Registered Sheep follow:

  • Animals should have no anatomical or physical defect
  • Legs and head must be free of wool
  • Fleece must be white
  • There may be no more than ten (10) percent colored hair

    Other major notable attributes of Texel Sheep:

  • Medium sized, easy fleshing, excellent foragers
  • Easy to handle, docile and quiet
  • Active breeders, prolific - usually producing twins
  • Dark pigmentation & hooves, no black fibers in wool
  • Very hardy, aggressive lambs at birth

APPEARANCE

The Texel breed today is a white-faced breed with no wool on the head or legs. The breed is characterized by a distinctive short, wide face with a black nose and widely placed, short ears with a nearly horizontal carriage. These sheep also have black hooves. The wool is of medium grade (46’s-56’s) or better with no black fibers. Mature animals shear fleece weights of 3.5-5.5 kg.

CARCASS

The most outstanding feature of the Texel breed is its remarkable muscle development and leanness. Research results from Clay Center and the University of Wisconsin indicate that Texel-sired lambs typically have a 6-10% advantage in loin-eye area when compared to American black-face-sired lambs. Many Texel breeders routinely scan loin-eyes as a selection tool and are finding 4+ square inches to be quite common with 5 square inch eyes appearing fairly often. Texel-sired lambs also show an advantage of one full leg score in these comparisons and less total carcass fat—especially seam fat. This is significant in that seam fat is much harder to trim manually during fabrication than are subcutaneous and internal fat deposits. In a trial comparing Texel ram lambs to black-faced ram lambs, the Texels required about 15# less feed to produce 60# of gain.

POPULARITY

The Texel has become the dominant terminal-sire breed in Europe. The breed is also gaining in popularity in Australia and New Zealand as their production systems have shifted away from primary emphasis on wool to greater emphasis on lamb meat production. Sales in 2012 of semen to Brazil American (40,000 straws from the UK) show increased popularity in South America. The breed clearly offers an opportunity for the North American sheep industry to improve the carcass merit of its product as well.

TEMPERAMENT

Texel sheep have excellent temperaments. They are docile, easy to work around, and have a curious nature. They tend not to be easily excitable or nervous.

GROWTH RATE & SIZE

Due to the good milk yield of Texel ewes and the breed’s fast growth, lambs can gain an average of at least .55 lbs per day. At weaning (12 weeks) the average weight of the lambs is at least 55 lbs and their final weight at slaughter (24 weeks) is 96.8 lb on average. Texels are medium sized sheep with ewes weighing 150 - 200 pounds. They are easy keeping, easy fleshing animals that thrive on grass.  Our British bred Texels demonstrate weight gains of 0.8+ lbs/ day until about 90 days of age.

MATERNAL ADVANTAGES

The length of the breeding season of mature Texel ewes is nearly 5 months. The Texel ewes comes in heat for the first time at about 7 months of age. Of importance is the total annual lamb production of the ewe, a combined effect of prolificacy and lambing frequency. Selection for litter size has resulted in a high rate of lamb production. Texel ewes are excellent mothers and provide a high yield of milk for their lambs.

                                   

                           

 


 

  Terminal Sheep Breeds
     
  Terminal sire on growth & lambing
     
  Lamb meat quality by sire

 

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