Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Congleton, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Posted Oct 13, 2012
Along with a couple of sheepdogs, we acquire a Texel ram from a neighbouring farmer on his retirement. He really did not fit in with our breeding programs at the time. However, he had been raised as an orphan and ended up being more of a pet than anything else.
With their short faces and forward pointing ears Texels can look a little aggressive, especially given their square, beefy, frames. But nothing can be further from the truth. This can be one of the gentlest and tamest breeds around, particularly if reared by hand or housed indoors for lambing.
This is one of the sheep breeds with a very good memory and they will remember you for the rest of their life. Even though we did not rear Tex ourselves, we always brought him a treat when we happened to be in the same field and he learnt this quickly and would come trotting up to us, nuzzling our hands to look for a treat.
We came to realize that he had been reared with dogs and in some way considered himself to be more a dog than a sheep. Dogs did not faze him and he could be a real menace around any strange dogs, attacking them and not backing off. With our own dogs he was fine, but still had a tendency to run towards us rather than moving with the remainder of the flock. More often than not we would have to fetch him, put a halter on him and keep him with us whilst we worked the remainder of the sheep. One of those quirks of behaviour that can make an animal annoying and endearing at one and the same time.
The lambs he sired grew very quickly, and put on weight readily, but they also put on fat very rapidly during the end of end of the rearing period. For meat, they would probably do better on poorer pasture than we had. We could never really get the sale conformation right. But then there were neighbouring farms who swore by the Texel and would never buy anything else.
One thing I did notice was a lower heat tolerance than other rams we owned. I do not know if this is a breed or individual characteristic though.
But Tex was a very friendly and gentle ram. One note of caution though, though they can make good pets, a ram is still a ram. Their instinct is to use their head to butt you. They will do this gently to get your attention, but can become much more insistent. Because of this, they cannot really be trusted around small children.