Texels in Quebec - The Calerotex story

Author Paul Cardyn
Page 2 of 3

Having had such good results with the Texels we decided in 1994 to import 22 embryos from Holland followed by another 80 a year later. The second batch was divided with Mels van der Laan from Ontario. Our sheep originate from top breeders in Holland : J. BOORTSLAP, C. KIKKERT, R.VAN DOORN, F. VAN CALCAR, H. VAN KESTEREN, VD WEY, JJ MULDER, VD KERKOFF AND P. VERBENE. Many of our ewes have a very famous and influential ram in their ancestry: "015" from J. J.Boorstlap.

Now that we had registered purebreds we phased out the crossbreds and concentrated on raising and promoting our purebreds. In 1998 we used semen from 3 Texel rams imported from France, for more size, frame and daily gain. In 2001 we used semen from two high index rams from the UK Sire Reference Scheme with the same purpose in mind.

From our Dutch imports we got extreme muscularity, small fine bones and heads for easy lambing and exceptional cuttability. With the French rams we improved on size, length, frame and daily gain to adjust for the demands of the Canadian market. With the high index British rams we hoped to establish a certain type and improve some more on growth rate without sacrificing on muscularity.

Our successes

Although we participated with a fairly good succes in numerous shows to get our breed known, I will spare you by not mentioning the results in detail mostly because our philosophy makes us see sheep as a meat producing animal, not as pets dressed up to look good in a show. Instead I will mention the success we have had at some carcass competitions where the Texels are at their best. Texels took five placings in three consecutive Provincial Carcass Competitions in Quebec: we took 2 first places and 1 second place and descendants from ours took a first and a third in those same events.

Thoughts from Quebec

Although we hear that the Texels have taken over around 50 % of the terminal sire market in the UK, the acceptance and use of the Texel breed has been a slow but progressive process in our province. We have developped a clientele of regular users of Texel rams as terminal sires in commercial and even some organic flocks, yet we find that we are still far from a tsunami and the use of the breed could have developped faster and so we wonder about the possible causes. Here are some that come to mind:

  • we are in direct competition with well and long established, fast growing terminal breeds like the Suffolk and Hampshire.
  • rumor in the field has it that Texels are slower to finish
  • shorter length of carcasses
  • the fact that the extension specialists in the province promote certain crosses as the F1 Romanov x Dorset females bred to terminal Suffolks ( British preferably ) or Hampshires. They have accumulated data to back these suggestions and might be afraid to suggest other crosses without the data to back themselves up.
  • lack of exposure in shows, sales etc
  • the fact that the parent breeds are not published when the carcass classification reports come out on the heavy lambs marketed by the provincial marketing agency where all carcassess are evaluated and paid according to their results
  • the lack of local recent studies on feed conversion, cuttability and doverall profitability of the same crosses.
  • the conservative habits of some sheep breeders afraid of trying new crosses