Colorful autumn on Texel

Placed on July 4, 2023
Kleurrijk najaar op Texel

Ram provides Texel ewes with a colorful autumn

Texel is a sheep island, it is said. There is something in that, because the number of sheep, approximately 15,000, is approximately the same as the Texel population. You see them in many places, in meadows, in the dunes and on the dike. As a natural decoration of the landscape.

A special period begins in the autumn. Then the ewes walk around with a colored backside. What's up with that? That's a special story.

Autumn is the time when the ram is released from the ewes. It is the period from September 20 to mid-November. That time is related to the duration of a sheep's pregnancy: five months, 145 days to be precise. If the ram has done its job well, the lambs will be born in the spring. So they can frolic in the meadow in the spring sun.

Lambing begins in early spring. When the sheep are about to give birth, the farmer brings the pregnant ewes to the stable so that he can keep an eye on things and, if necessary, lend a hand during the birth. Many farmers moved their beds to the stable during that time.

To spread out the lambing season, sheep farmers practice birth planning. How? Very simple, a matter of calculating back. The sooner a sheep is mated, the earlier in the spring the birth occurs.

Not every ram qualifies. Breeders of the world-famous Texel pedigree sheep place high demands on the ram they use to mate their ewes. Because they want the best lambs. On the Texel Sheep Breeding Day, always on the first Monday in September, the top rams are brought together and inspected. A busy autumn awaits the champion ram.

It takes an average of seventeen days for a ram to cover a flock of sheep. To check whether all ewes have been fertilized, the ram is tied with a chalk block. Every time he mounts a ewe, he stamps it on the back. If the ewe is stamped, the farmer knows it has been mated.

Each cycle has its own color. The first often yellow, gradually changing to blue, green or another color in the autumn. This way, sheep breeders can see from the color in which period the ewe was mated. And in the spring they know exactly when to take the pregnant ewes to the barn for lambing.