The Beltex Sheep was developed in Belgium by selectively breeding Texel Sheep to achieve "double-muscling" and very little fat. According to the Beltex Sheep Society, "The breed was originally developed as the Belgian Texel, by selection and breeding for the traits found in culards (double-muscled sheep). Belgian breeders were greatly assisted by Professor Roger Hanset of the University of Liege, who was a leader in the field of research into the genetics of double muscle and he also played a major role in the development of the Belgian Blue breed of cattle."
In 1989, Belgian Texels were exported to the United Kingdom, and it was there that the sheep acquired a new name, "Beltex", and where they were refined to their modern form. In Europe, Beltex are primarily used as terminal sires, meaning Beltex rams are mated with ewes of other sheep breeds to produce lambs for meat.
Appearance / health:
According to the National Sheep Association, "Beltex is a medium sized sheep, long in the body. It is wedge-shaped from a narrow shoulder to a distinctive large, double-muscled hindquarter. The head is generally white in colour but may have black, blue or brown shadings or patches. The fore face is short and thick. The fleece is tight, dense of medium staple length. Average male bodyweight 95kg."
One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.
Behavior / temperament:
Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.” They sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away (they are able to twist and turn their ears to detect potential danger) and instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.
As domesticated animals, sheep make good pets because they are docile and easily connect with humans, especially lambs that are bottle-fed. Miniature breeds and sheep that have hair instead of fur make ideal pets. Raising pet sheep is a popular project in the 4-H youth organization.
Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.
Some sheep owners keep their flock in a barn or similar enclosure to protect them from predators. These enclosures must have very good ventilation because moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health.
For warmth and comfort, bedding material should be provided. The best bedding is absorbent, clean, and dry. Some options are straw, wood shaving, sawdust, corncobs, dried corn stalks, peat, hemp, paper, and alfalfa hay. Preference is determined by cost, availability, convenience, and type of sheep. Wool sheep will not appreciate sawdust because it gets in their fleece. Paper is highly absorbent but difficult to manage in the field.
Lambs start with their mother’s milk and a light diet of pasture grass at two weeks old. After weaning the lambs from ewe’s milk at six weeks old, they can start eating dry feed of grains (wheat, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn), soybean and peanut hulls, and hay. The main diet of sheep is fresh grass and other forage and pasture vegetation. The pasture must be fertile and large enough to support the grazing of sheep for about seven hours a day (morning and afternoon). Fresh water must be constantly available, especially during the warm months and if the diet is mostly dry hay. Supplements are recommended, and must be given in the middle of the day to balance the sheep’s food intake.
valuable animal, good quality lambsheep.I, easy animal
Review of Luna (Beltix Sheep 2 years old)
I am very happy with my sheep, she is raised by myself since she was little and therefore she became really friendly and affectionate. She likes attention and does not like to be alone. I have one sheep but normally it is better for them to be around more animals. (Could also be a donkey instead of more sheep.) It is an easy animal to own, they will feed themselves when you put them on a field of grass and you only have to check if they have enough water. Though make sure they have enough space and a place where they can seek shelter when it is raining or when its cold. Other then this, you have to make sure you shave them on the right time. You can make them really friendly when you raise them yourself otherwise they can be really distant..
From Giachetta Mar 10 2015 1:14PM
Beltex ewes are quite a breed
I keep a portion of Beltex ewes among my flock of texels. The beltex are close relatives of the texel breed however when you cross them you get a good quality lamb/sheep.
I am very fond of the beltex breed, they have more character than their texel cousins. They are probably not the prettiest sheep, with more leaner and meaner looking face.
Beltex's are hard to lamb especially if the lamb itself is also a beltex so most will need help. They therefore take up a farmers time during the lambing period. It is best to have your beltex's in a lambing shed with a cctv camera system installed.
The breed is very meaty therefore they are a valuable animal to have on your farm. The muscles of the breed are exceptional, in some cases mutant like..
From Joed123 Jun 12 2014 3:26PM