Ode to the ewe
Mother's Day is a special day, especially on Texel. There is also every reason for a festive atmosphere in the meadows. The garden walls are teeming with young mothers. Thousands of Texel mother sheep that gave birth to their lambs in early spring.
Caring as they are for their offspring, they deserve a little extra attention. Their lambs can be quite busy. They jump, frolic, run from here to here with their playmates and sometimes go so close to the ditch that you, as a mother sheep (ewe), hold your breath.
As a ewe you have your hands full raising that chick. Going to school is not an option in the pasture, mother sheep are responsible for the education of the youth. The lambs may be proverbially innocent when they are born in the stable, but once outside, mischief abounds and they happily romp about.
Mother ewe sometimes turns a blind eye, but when things get too intense for her, she bleats her sons or daughters to pieces. In the meantime, she must graze enough to keep her udder full. Several times a day the hungry youth rush towards her to fill their bellies with milk while wiggling their tails. She accepts it with a satisfied smile. Even when her offspring then seeks the warmth of her thick woolen coat to take a nap. Finally peace, also for mother.
As an ode to ewe, Texel resident Jan Heemskerk wrote this limerick:
Spring fever reigns on the dam
for every ewe has a lamb
Enjoy and be happy
but don't get too close
Because then mother ewe will give you a ram.
The Texel sheep likes a little attention from time to time and is also a bit vain. Every year on the first Monday in September, the most beautiful animals go to the Texel Sheep Breeding Day at the Groeneplaats in Den Burg. That day they stand together in the sun and enjoy the attention on this crowded square.
Breeders from home and abroad, looking for the best ewes, crowd around the animals. The highlight comes when the sheep are let into the inspection ring to participate in the sheep beauty pageants. Judges with an eye for beauty look closely at the appearance, the quality of the coat and other properties. After which the signs go up and the champion ewe can have its photo taken with the proud sheep breeder.
The Texel sheep is world famous. This fame is not of today or yesterday, but dates back to the Middle Ages. The current Texel is the result of centuries of breeding. Started with the old Texel breed, the pielsteert. Centuries ago, it supplied the milk for Texel sheep cheeses that were exported to distant places.
The Texel sheep breed is also famous for its wool. At the beginning of summer the sheep are sheared. The wool contains wool fat or lanolin. This is washed from the wool and processed into skin and other care products. The wool of the Texel is characterized by a high degree of quality and comfort. Duvets, slippers, clothing and all kinds of other products are made.