Lammetjes bij moeder in de wei

The Texel sheep

Texel is home to as many sheep as inhabitants! Just under 14,000 of both live on the island. Many thousands of lambs are added in spring.

The Texel Sheep

In the Netherlands, the Texel sheep breed is called 'Texelaar'; abroad it is called Texelsheep of Texel. The Texels Schapenstamboek was founded in 1909. A Texelaar has an expressive head and is a medium-sized, generously built sheep. Its wool is described as fine and stacked.

Sheep farming

Sheep farming on Texel is small-scale and extensive, with great attention paid to animal welfare. Sheep farmers are especially busy in spring, when the lambing season arrives.

The lambing season

Lammetjes bij moeder in de wei
Lammetjes bij moeder in de wei
Photographer: Marianne Swinkels

Farmers know pretty precisely when the ewes are due to give birth. This is because the gestation period is exactly five months minus five days after mating. Lambing gets well under way in March. This is a busy time, as the Texel sheep have to be intensively supervised during lambing. Even at night, the farmer or farmer's wife regularly checks on the sheep. Some farmers have installed a video system or even sleep in the stable to keep a close eye on everything. And in case a caesarean section has to be performed, an 'operating room' for the vet is available in the form of a table under a lamp.

After the birth, the mother is put in a pen with her lambs for a few days to allow her to get used to the smell of her kids properly. Then they are allowed outside and the lambs can 'harden off'. Sheep can take the cold well. Even with snow, they can go out into the meadow.


That is Tessels dialect for lambs rejected by their mothers and raised by bottle. At Schapenboerderij Texel, you can see how these lambs are bottle-fed or drink from the 'lamb bar', a kind of milking machine with teats.

The Sheep Breeding Day

On the first Monday of September, the annual Sheep Breeding Day is held in Den Burg. This event attracts breeders from home and abroad. They come to the island a few days earlier to select the best sheep. On the day itself, the Groeneplaats is bustling with lots of judging and handshaking. Nice to see, so take a look!

More about Texel sheep

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