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Texel (sheep)
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Texel sheep are meat sheep, bred all over the world, originally from the island of Texel in the Netherlands. It is now a popular lean meat sheep in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Origins

image of Texel ewe and lambs in AustraliaThe Texel sheep originated on the isle of Texel, the largest of the Frisian Islands off the north coast of The Netherlands. The exact origin of the breed is unknown although it is thought to be a cross of multiple English breeds. It was slowly bred into a meat breed of outstanding carcass quality. It is now one of the most common meat breeds in The Netherlands making up seventy percent of the national flock.


Texels in the United Kingdom
In the early 1970s, the superior quality of the Dutch Texel caught the attention of some Scottish breeders who were interested in importing Dutch Texels to the UK. They were unable to import the Dutch Texels at the time and instead opted for importing French ones due to import laws. At the end of the decade UK import laws changed and allowed the import of Dutch Texels.


Texels in the United States
The first Texels in the United States were imported by the Meat Animal Research centre at Clay centre, NE in 1985. After five-years of quarantine, some were released for purchase by private individuals in 1990 and there after.


Texels in Australia and New Zealand
Texels were selected from Denmark and Finland to suit New Zealand and Australian conditions. In addition to their natural attributes of heavy muscling and leanness, they had to be mobile sheep capable of travelling distances, free lambing and easy care. A select Australian flock began quarantine in New Zealand in 1988 and an objective genetic selection program was implemented.

In February 1993, selectors appointed by the Australian Texel Stud Breeders Association Inc. chose a total of 790 Texel ewes and 50 Texel rams from a base flock of 2220 Texels available for import to Australia. The Australian Texel Corporation Pty. Ltd. (ATC) was formed by a group of investor-breeders who imported the sheep to Australia and undertook all the embryo transplants and semen collections and was responsible for the release of foetuses via recipient ewes to Australian studmasters.

The first Texels were born in Australia in September, 1993, and the first volume of the Annual Flock Register was produced in April 1994.


Breed Description
The Texel is a heavily muscled sheep. It produces a lean meat carcase and will pass on this quality to crossbred progeny. The wool is around 32 micron and is mostly used for blending into carpets and duvets.


Advantages of the Texel
High quality meat sheep.
The ewes produce very good milk for the lambs.
The lambs have a fast growing rate.
Hardy offspring
All meats are very high quality.
Not much fat is found on the sheep, maximising profits for both farmer and butcher.

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