Overview: The Dorper is a South African mutton breed developed in the 1930's from the Dorset Horn and Blackheaded Persian. I am so pleased to have an animal that thrives regardless of temperature or weather. The Blackhead Persian breed was used to harsh conditions. They are very quick to install, too. It seems most lambs and kids really try our patience those first few days of feeding. Early on in the breed’s development, a disagreement came about because some breeders thought the Dorpers should be solid white. This is important when raising a breed for market. Fertility, great feed conversion, and adaptability to weather conditions have helped the Dorper sheep breed rise in popularity among sheep farmers. The ewe in question lambed for the first time last spring. White Dorper Sheep and Grass Farming – the Dos and Don’ts —Ulf Kintzel I was 19 years old and about to learn one of my many lasting life lessons. Some breeders have found the subsequent generations begin to lean more to the hair sheep characteristics. Tell us about the breed in the comments section below. In addition to good sheep fencing, run-in … I must say this has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had with and orphan lamb or kid.Our Dorper flock has been very profitable, not just from the current breeder market perspective, but from the fact that we do not have to spend much time or money on them. I found her lamb near the water trough in fairly good condition but obviously abandoned and hungry. The Dorper is the fastest growing, heaviest-muscled hair sheep breed in the U.S. Dorpers can be bred for maternal purposes, but they are mostly known for being a terminal market animal. There have been many days when we have been eagerly anticipating lambs and ready to help if needed only to find our assistance is not needed. Finances involved in setting up a sheep … By 1964 the agreement was settled by accepting both into the standard. If you live in a part of the USA that gets cold during the winter, these sheep will grow a thick coat of wool during the winter, but don’t worry, they will shed it off during the spring. We have some of the top bloodlines and are improving on them every day! Finances involved in setting up … I do not know exactly what the Africans were thinking but I know they got it right!Bring on the cold, wet, and snowy Northern winters and the scorching heat of the Southwest, my Dorpers are ready for it! As with many cross breeds, the Dorper concentrated the best qualities of each breed. Very impressed. Dorper sheep originated in South Africa and were the result of crossing Dorset Horn with Blackheaded Persian sheep. All feeders (grain, hay, salt, and mineral) should be built off the ground so the sheep cannot get their feet in them or lay in them. Our experience has proven the fact that even in the arid conditions of West Texas the Dorper will find the needed forage to thrive. Copyright © 2019 | Half-Circle Six Ranches | All Rights Reserved. All sheep breeds require a source of fresh drinking water. The Dorper breed requires the same care as any other sheep breeds. We used every means possible to stop these dogs but they came and went from the pasture for several weeks before we got them. In addition, the ewes breed easily, and it is possible to breed every eight months. Sheep are generally easy keepers and don't require nearly as much acreage as bovines. Ulf owns and operates White Clover Sheep Farm and breeds and raises grass-fed White Dorper sheep and Kiko goats without any grain feeding and offers breeding stock suitable for grazing. Before purchasing your flock, factor in … There are sheep farmers claiming that they live solely from managing 60-80 sheep, but these farmers normally live near forests with rich and diverse flora and raise their sheep on pasture. He is a native of Germany and lives in the US since 1995. A list of equipment needed include: shearing, tagging, … When the herd of sheep and goats was located I let the little lamb go and hoped for the best. There is good reason for the popularity of the Dorper sheep breed. The Dorper is an easy-care animal that produces a fleece of little wool that is shed late spring-summer. What a pleasure! Most lambs can reach market weight of 80 to 90 pounds at around four months of age. Ewe Lamb Right Farm strives to raise wholesome & healthy Katahdin hair sheep & lambs. The meat is leaner and milder than imported lamb. I believe she was so traumatized that she may never raise a lamb on her own. The Dorper grows its light cover of wool and hair for winter protection then sheds in summer. I had just finished my apprenticeship and had started working at a sheep farm. People all over the United States north to south raise hair sheep and do well in warmer and colder environments. Your email address will not be published. Your breeding sheep project can either be hand-fed or self-fed. The remarkable thing about this Dorper sired lamb is that he took the nipple the first time and began to suck just like he had always eaten from a bottle! Dorper sheep are hardy and easy to keep. Last year we had some feral dogs attack our sheep and goats and the damage was incredible. Dorper sheep do not walk as much to select their food as other sheep do to find a suitable spot to graze. The characteristics of fast growth, nonseasonal breeding, and mild tasting meat are easily attained by adding the Dorper sheep to a flock. We both work off the farm; therefore time is a commodity in short supply. Luckily I have not had this happen to any of our Fullblood Dorper sheep, but I recently had a young Katahdin ewe abandon her lamb. Originally bred in early 1940s, Dorper sheep are a cross from Dorset horned rams and Blackhead Persian ewes. While you can't make a living raising sheep on a small acreage, you can make a profit and possibly receive property tax deductions. Startup cost of a 30-ewe flock Is estimated to range between $187.50 and $235.84 per ewe and the annual cash operating cost at about $51 each. Breeders report that even older culled ewes can be sold for meat. Many breeders have written about how easy the Dorper is to care for. © 2020, Countryside - All Rights Reserved, Extract Natural Dye for Wool from Goldenrod Plants, Why Teach Classes on How to Knit, Spin, Weave or Felt, Drop Spindle Spinning: Making and Using Your First Spindle, Use This Sweater Mitten Pattern to Bring New Life to Old Clothes. It is rewarding when your ewes do just what nature intended and care for their newborn lambs, but on occasion something will go wrong. While for wool, Merino remains the strain of choice of producers. These sheep are missing something, and that's good, say Ron and Judy Monson. You’ll find the texture and flavor is a delight! Raising Dorpers continues to be a pleasure for Jennifer and I. I use exclusively purebred registered White Dorper rams from Lewis White Dorpers to breed my ewes. When you do decide to add more, you’ll more than likely have to make the proper accommodations. Although the breed was created in the 1930s, it is still fairly new to the US. Dorper and Hampshire breeds are picked out for the best meat. Consider if you have the financial resources to raise sheep. No shearing, less drenching, excellent weight gain on pasture, excellent mothering ability, and the list goes on.University studies and Dorper breeders have noted the vigor and will to live that the Dorper lamb has. Mature rams range in weight from 240 pounds to 275 pounds. I wonder if the men who began this breed knew they were creating a “World Breed”? Other breeders thought the black head and markings from the Blackhead Persian should be standard in the breed. Little or no hoof trimming is needed when on pasture, and our sheep only are drenched once or twice a year. Ranch consulting services, trophy hunting and exotic game sales. Breeders have introduced Dorper rams into other lines, such as Katahdin sheep and Texel, with good results. The main reason for the Dorpers in the Easy Care cross is for carcass quality and muscling. A small sheep farming concern calls for dedication, discipline and a genuine concern for the animals. The Dorper breed adapts to both hot and cold weather without issue. Sheep will spend about 7 hours a day grazing. No shearing, less drenching, excellent weight gain on pasture, excellent mothering ability, and the list goes on.University studies and Dorper breeders have noted the vigor and will to live that the Dorper lamb has. Dorper sheep farming is a result of the breed being developed in South Africa. This scenario is something all ranchers and farmers should realize when and if (A BIG IF) compensation is paid for damage caused by dogs. Ron remembers raising wool sheep as a teenager. For lambing needs, the Corriedale and Columbia breeds are good options. Our sires are Katahdins with NSIP EBVs. 1. We are a Christian family here at Clark Farm. Our commercial and registered flocks consist of Katahdin hair sheep, all registered with NSIP. These sheep would browse similarly to goats and were not picky. Consider if you have the financial resources and time resources to raise sheep. Always know where your ram is when your in their pen. All my sheep are commercial sheep that thrive on pasture without any grain ever. American Dorper Sheep Breeder Society members enjoy reduced fees, a quarterly magazine, free listing on the website, educational events and MORE >>>. Other sheep breeds such as the Van Rooy are also believed to have contributed to the development of the White Dorper sheep breed.. Name of the breed ‘Dorper‘ is a coupling of the first syllables of the parent sheep breeds the Dorset and Persian. The breed has the characteristic black head (Dorper) as well as white heads (White Dorper). Get in touch with Leaning Cedar Ranch today! They really produce nice lambs when crossed with the Dorper. Have from the beginning wanted to raise grass-fed chemical free sheep with the hope of selling the meat to good restaurants sometime in the future. The Katahdin breed has hair instead of wool, and that means less work, according to the couple, who raise the sheep near Perham, Minnesota. Because of their ability to adapt to both extremes of hot and cold weather, the breed requires very little. Decide the reason why you want to keep sheep. Dorper hair sheep are low input, easy care sheep that produce excellent meat with no shearing required. Many breeders have written about how easy the Dorper is to care for. My White Dorper Sheep: My flock consists of about 200 purebred White Dorper ewes. Our ewes seldom need any assistance lambing and do an excellent job of cleaning and encouraging the lambs to nurse. As I drove home in my old and not so beautiful four-wheel drive ranch truck I could not help but notice the improvement we have begun to make by using Katahdin ewes in our crossbreeding program. Started out with 2 and now have 15. The white dorper sheep are a very fast growing, heavily muscled sheep that have a high feed conversion and are extremely easy keepers. Dorper sheep utilize bushes and shrubs to a greater extent for their feed than other sheep breeds such as the Merino-types do. The meat produced from a Dorper flock seems very popular. The run-in shed provides a windbreak and shelter from freezing rain and snow. When you start raising sheep, you should start out slow. 3  Sheep pastures can be rotated with crop planting. For example, we consider time spent worming, shearing, docking and trimming hooves as merely maintaining an operation.If this same time is spent building homestead fencing, water systems, improving lambing or handling facilities, it’s improving an operation. I will let you in on the history of this ewe and help explain possible reasons for the lamb to be left on its own. Raising Dorpers continues to be a pleasure for Jennifer and I. I plan to double my herd in the next year or two and build up close to 400 head,” he said. As already mentioned, sheep farming is not simply about numbers. Apart from a guide to raising sheep, a beginning sheep farmer likewise need equipment and expert help when starting their flock. Most estimates are about 10 sheep per acre. Justin Rhodes - abundantpermaculture.com - asked me for help putting together a list of things he will need to bring sheep onto his homestead this spring. Required fields are marked *. After an hour or so it became clear that for whatever reason the mother would not reclaim her lamb. The Dorper refers to the blackhead variety and the White Dorper refers to the all white sheep. This allows for the possibility of three lambings over a two-year span. Many of this breed maintain a small amount of wool and hair on their top line. I have been raising Katahdin sheep for 3 yrs. Since the Dorper has characteristics of both breeds, the hair sheep potential is across the spectrum on shedding versus needing to be sheared. The result was the Dorper breed. Amsberry sees a lot of advantages to raising hair sheep versus feeding goats. The evidence points to mild taste with little mutton flavor at all. I dread the process of taking a small animal in need of its mother and replacing her with a bottle and plastic nipple. We are a family owned farm here in Central Texas working to improve the Dorper genetics to help bring more quality to the marketplace. Try one of these great recipes today! The ram choice for the breed development was a Dorset Horned sheep. Since Blackhead Persians were from an arid environment, they were easy grazers. A small number of well-managed, productive animals may make you more money … Do you raise Dorpers or another hardy cross breed of sheep? Mostly grass and forage fed. Would you like to raise Dorper sheep, one of the fastest growing breeds in the United States and many other countries? Steps. Dorpers sheep are an easy-care breed that produces a light coat of wool and hair that is shed in late spring and summer. Many sheep and goat people may not be aware of the fact that Dorper sheep are being successfully raised not only in South Africa and the United States, but also in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and Australia. Sheep manure will fertilize the soil. The Dorset also brought a well-muscled quality to the cross. In addition to good sheep fencing, run-in sheds for shelter should be available. The Dorper ewes range from 150 to 200 pounds mature weight. I raise Dorpers and other hair sheep and one rule is you never turn your back on a ram. Dorper sheep are hardy and easy to keep. I initially disliked this and presumed it was a fault of the breed. Since the Blackhead Persian sheep are a hair breed and the Dorset Horned are a wool breed, how do the Dorper sheep shed out? He has been gaining weight and eating pelleted feed since he was a week old. But since we have no grass in … The ewe may die, become sick, or just walk off from her lamb. After raising these sheep and being educated by the likes of Ron van der Merve, Dolf Lategan, and John Dell from South Africa I’ve changed my perspective. For example, grass, flowers, and other vegetation tend to grow best in the spring. Currently the Dorper sheep is the second most common sheep breed in the country, and it is also raised in some other countries as well. This can be provided by either a trough that is refilled frequently or a natural body of fresh water. I love lambing time. Since then, Amsberry has sold all his feeder goats and started to transition from strictly a commercial hair sheep flock to adding about 26 head of purebred white Dorpers. The market buyers were not impressed with the quality of the exports. Most sheep require worming or parasite control. They would hardly break stride to get through the plain wire fences previously. Dorpers are the fastest growing breed in many countries including the United States and Canada. We raise Dorpers because they are easy to care for, are highly resilient to parasites, and grow rapidly on the forage available. Because of their ability to adapt to both extremes of hot and cold weather, the breed requires very little. Left on pasture for most of the year seems to be the norm for most farms. Introducing the Dorper rams into a strong flock of ewes in a strict breeding program can yield even stronger offspring and better quality meat. Dorper lamb is naturally lower in fat than most lamb. It’s recommended that you begin with 2 sheep per acre and never exceed 4 sheep per acre. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. The Dorset breed is also highly fertile and adaptable to hot conditions. The breed was developed for the arid extensive regions of South Africa. Good common sense :) StrictlyQuotes from Australia on December 03, 2012: I agree, your article is very informative, I love your photos too they are just the most adorable looking sheep. The South African farmers began developing a new breed and were attempting to compete with the lambs exported from New Zealand. Want to see more like this? Furthermore the breed sho… For … One of the most fertile of sheep breeds that is hornless with good body length and a short light covering of hair and wool. In many cases, breeders report that the hair and sheds from the belly and legs, leaving only the body that needs shearing. These droppers have 100% sheep proofed my existing fences at a fraction of the price of ring lock. If hand-feeding, allow a minimum of 1 2 linear feet of trough space per sheep. The Dorpers require little grain (I do give some through the very harsh winters), and maintain condition on poorer pasture. I took the lamb and located the herd, which is not easy as the pasture they are in is over 700 acres and is extremely rough and rocky. Raising quality Dorper Sheep for 20 years. The number can vary based on size and condition of sheep (ewes with lambs), condition of pasture (tall fescue grows fast spring and fall), and how you manage your pasture. Dorsets are easy keepers and graze happily on what is available. We feel that our time must be used where it will improve our operation, rather than maintaining status quo. Mixing the non-seasonal breeding ability with the high fertility of the Blackhead Persian, bred offspring that were capable of breeding every eight months. We measure prolificacy, weight … If you are raising organic meat, the Dorper is a good choice because they are more tolerant of intestinal parasites than some other breeds. They lamb easily for the most part. The breed association now recognizes both the Dorper and White Dorper sheep. Thus, they do not pay for feed most of the time or they pay a very small amount of money for some food supplements or grains during the winter frost. Upgrading was allowed in order to increase the numbers of Dorper sheep after South Africa experienced an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease and importation was no longer possible. “Purebred” means the sheep has been upgraded from American stock and is at least 93% or 15/16ths Dorper genetics. Sheep are kept for a number of reasons - for reasons of earning a living from their wool, hides, meat ... 2. Extra assistance in that department is minimal. Click Here for High Quality Lamb Meat Available for Consumption >>>, Your email address will not be published. The Dorper sheep is a fast-growing meat producing sheep.The breed was developed for the arid extensive regions of South Africa.The Dorper is a South African mutton breed developed in the 1930s from the Dorset Horn and Blackhead Persian. Two varieties of Dorper Sheep were created: the black headed Dorper and an all white variety, the White Dorper sheep. We are here to help you in any way to get you to where you want to be with your herd. 4  A former sheep pasture is a marvelously fertile spot for growing crops. That small amount of wool on the back provides protection from the intense summer sun. Costs of raising fewer sheep than ASI's example are detailed in Raising A Small Flock of Sheep in Ohio, Bulletin No.654, from Ohio State University and the Cooperative Extension Service (CES). The Dorset Horned sheep is a non-seasonal breeder, meaning they don’t just breed in the fall. My existing 8 strand plain wire fences were not Dorper-proof - Dorpers are renowned for being hard on fences. Left on pasture for most of the year seems to be the norm for most farms. The Blackhead Persian breed that was chosen as the maternal side by the South African farmers, brought a hardiness and excellent fertility to the relationship. Make sure that your pasture supports the number of sheep you choose.