The Texel sheep breed appeared and formed on the Dutch island with the same name, located in the North Sea, northwest of the Country of Tulips. The original Texel, smaller and extremely robust, had lived here for centuries. In the mid-19th century, British sheep breeds such as Lincoln and Leicester were introduced to improve local sheep. The result obtained is the present Texel.
In 1933, the first sheep were to conquer the French sheep breeders. The British accepted this "non-English" race much later. It was not until 1985 that a group of 4 Texel ram lambs was brought to the UK to take part in a crossbreeding study program.
Texel is a medium-sized sheep with a massive rectangular body that denotes power. The back is straight, wide and strong. The legs and the nose are white, wool-free. The tail is short and thick. The head is characterized by a short and wide face with a black nose and long eyes. The ears are large, arranged almost horizontally on the head. They can have black spots on the eyelids or ears. The hooves are also black, contrasting to the white legs. The wool is medium in size, with no black, thin and soft, suitable for crocheting.
This sheep offers great economic return. The carcass is characterized by a high percentage of muscle, at the expense of fat. The meat is tasty and tender. The growth pace is accelerated: at birth lambs can weigh 5-7 kg, while by 3 months they already have 30-35 kg. A ram of the Texel breed weighs between 110 and 130 kg and an ewe between 75 and 85 kg. Prolificity is average: 1.7 lambs per sheep.
Texel conveys strength, robustness and grandeur. In fact, it is an obedient and little pretentious sheep. It eats anything and grows well on pastures with little grass. It is resistant to weather, and can also be grown in regions with a cooler climate. They prefer small hilly areas, but they can also eat on plains, high hills or mountains. After being born, lambs become active immediately. They will stand up and look for milk, with no need to be assisted. The Texel ewes are excellent, protective and very durable mothers.
The Ile de France breed is a well-known meat breed. It was formed by crossing the Dishley breed (from England) and Merinos (from France). A careful selection followed for a long time. For a long time the race was called Dishley-Merinos.
At birth, lambs weigh 4-5 kg and after 100 days they already weigh 35-40 kg. At maturity, the sheep of the Ile de France have a weight of 75-90 kg, and the ram is about 110-140 kg heavy. Also, the prolificity is high for this breed, which is 1.4 - 1.8 lambs per lambing, the annual average reaching up to 220%.
In terms of food, the sheep from the Ile de France breed are not pretentious, but they need grain supplements, especially before and after lambing.
Milk production is also a good one in the Ile de France breed, the sheep having the ability to grow twin lambs without problems. At the same time, the wool production is a good one, about 3-4 kg for ewes and about 4-6 kg for rams.
The Suffolk breed was born from the crossing of the Norfolk Horn sheep with the Southdown rams. It is the breed with the highest growth rate of all meat breeds that produce the terminal rams required in the crossbreeding schemes aimed at producing hybrid meat lambs.
The Suffolk sheep is distinguished by the head and legs covered in black fur. The body is covered with white, short thick wool. The entire body is covered with wool to the hock, respectively on the neck to the back neck. Brown wool threads are accepted. The wool has a fineness of 30-42 microns. Moreover, the Suffolk sheep has no horns. The skin is smooth and without any other coloured spots. Animals have a large waist with well-developed bones, and a slightly convex skull.
The main characteristics of Suffolk sheep
The Suffolk sheep's meat is of high quality and has a superior taste, recognized by consumers around the world.
Due to its resilience and elasticity, Suffolk sheep wool is used to make blankets and duvets, ideal for the cold season.
Suffolk rams are very prolific, so sometimes sheep can also give birth to 2-3 lambs, sometimes even 4. The Suffolk lambs are born 150 days after mating and reach ablactation around the age of about 100 days.
Suffolk sheep adapt easily to any conditions and resist very well even at extreme temperatures.
According to statistics, Suffolk has the highest growth rates among the breeds with breeding rams. Characterized by good maternal properties, increased milk production, and high prolificity (1.3-1.8). It is one of the breeds with the best grazing capacity but also tolerates stabulation. It has a beautiful carcass and a daily increase of 350-400 grams per day in lambs.
The sheep of the Schwarzkopf breed is an animal raised for meat production, highly appreciated and spread in Germany. This sheep breed has come to our country where it is grown for both meat and wool.
Origin and history
In 1850, sheep from meat breeds, such as Leicester, Southdown and Hampshire, were imported from England to Saxony. Here, these sheep breeds were crossed with local sheep breeds. 30 years later, the crossbreeding program has spread to Westphalia and East Prussia, regions where the Merino sheep breed was predominant.
Thus, following these crosses, the Schwarzkopf breed appeared, especially in the Westfalia region, which today is the main area of origin of the Schwarzkopf sheep breed.
Schwarzkopf sheep are medium-sized animals with a compact body covered with white wool. The legs, head and ears are covered with black fur. In fact, this sheep breed is also known as the German Black-headed Sheep.
The wool of these sheep is very thick and dense, so these sheep can adapt to the colder climatic conditions. In addition, wool also protects them against moisture.
At maturity, sheep reach a weight of 65-75 kilograms and rams of 110-130 kilograms.
The sheep of the Schwarzkopf breed is a large animal for both meat production and wool production. It is highly appreciated in its native country, Germany, where it is found in very extensive areas.
This sheep breed was also exported to other countries of the world for its extraordinary qualities. Average wool production per head is of 4-5 kilograms.
At 6 months of life, Schwarzkopf lambs reach a weight of 50-60 kilograms.