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.
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 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) with no black fibers. Mature animals shear fleece weights of 3.5-5.5 kg.
The most outstanding characteristic of the Texel is its remarkable muscle development and leanness. Texel-sired lambs show an advantage of one full leg score in breed comparisons and less total carcass fat especially seam fa
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. The average 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.