Dorper Sheep............

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by HunterTed, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. HunterTed

    HunterTed Rockin B Farm

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    Next month a friend and I are headed to south Texas to buy a few Dorper ewes. Then he is going to get a Dorper buck from a ranch in Oklahoma. Right now I have Barbado sheep and I love them. I want the Dorpers just to have something else. When I turn my Barbado Rams in with my Barbado ewes I will put the Dorper ewes in the ram pasture to prevent breeding. I am going to use my friends Dorper buck when I need to breed my ewes. Does anyone raise Dorpers? Is there anything special that I need to know about this breed? I have spent countless hours on the internet researching the Dorper breed. And I cannot wait to get my new ewes home.
     
  2. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on your new breed! We have been raising Dorpers for four years now and just love them. We previously raised Katahdins but they were just too slow growing so we purchased a full blood ram to cross onto the ewes we already had, plus some Dorper ewes. We have been extremely pleased with the crossbreds and purebreds too! No problems, in fact, we have had less lambing trouble than we had with Katahdins. We were lucky to get started with a full shedding ram and have continued to be very selective in new blood we bring in. The taste of the Dorper meat is great and is more tender than the Katahdins. The Dorpers seem to gain on air, eating everything in it's path. The Katahdins ~ I need to feed.

    The only problem you may have is keeping your Barbado rams away from the pretty new girls!
     
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  3. HunterTed

    HunterTed Rockin B Farm

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    No problem there. The Barbados will be seperated from the Dorpers by a 5 foot heavy welded wire fence! ;)
     
  4. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Just wondering but what is the average birth weight for a Dorpers, and Katahdins?
    Melissa
     
  5. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    When we raised Katahdins, lambs were 8-10 lbs. average at birth. Since we have switched to Dorpers, our weights average 7-8 lbs. ~ less lambing troubles too! The great part is the Dorper lambs will quickly catch up and easily outgrow the Katahdins by weaning and market time.
     
  6. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Ok Thanks, it is neat to know the variety in the breeds. I know people who raise Dorpers but I never knew the birthweight of them.

    Melissa
     
  7. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    The average birth weight of a Katahdin is 8 lbs. Something you might want to keep in mind is that the average amount of lambs per year for a Katahdin is 4, a Dorper is only 2. You MIGHT get bigger lambs but you sacrifice the amount of lambs. Dorpers weigh 80 lbs at four months. My Kathadins have that beat. You also must remember that the dorper is more of a mutton sheep and has more wool. Generally the dorper is shorn but their hair and wool will drop out if not kept trimmed. It does not shed quite like the Katahdin.
     
  8. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    My Dorper girls keep right up with my Katahdin ewes in production ~ lambs spring AND fall with both if I time things right. Our Dorper lambs average 90 lbs at 4 months and have always easily beaten out our Katahdin lambs in growth rates. That is why we have switched to mostly Dorper. As for the covering, since we have bred up from the Katahdins, our Dorpers with Katahdin background shed just as well as pure Katahdins. We even have several full blood Dorper rams (straight South African bloodlines) that are complete shedders! Don't know what you mean by "mutton" sheep but as far as taste ~ very much the same. Something that IS much different is that the Dorper is MUCH more tender and dresses out better ~ 66% versus only 45% with our Katahdin butcher lambs. More meat for your money. Just some facts that I have learned from raising both breeds, not just hearsay . . .
     
  9. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    All the info I gave came off of the OK state web page. Dorpers are more know as mutton sheep. They don't taste quite like Katahdins. Since you cross you might still retain the flavor of the Katahdin. Dorpers do have babies twice a year, just fewer. Generally one baby at a lambing, Katahdins average 2.5 per lambing. Also Sue I wanted to tell you that you can register cross bred Katahdins as pure bred. I talked to the registrar and he said they have a program that you can become part of. You can take a solid black wool ewe (for example) and breed to a reg. Katahdin ram and a couple of generations down you can have registered Katahdins.
     
  10. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    As we sit down to our dinner table, we find that our purebred Dorper has the same mild taste as Katahdin ~ but definately more tender. We eat many a purebred wether here. Crossbreds are just as good. Even purebred Dorpers with a wool sheep background taste the same.

    Dorpers can have babies twice a year like Katahdins ~ AND they twin just as often as my Katahdins . . . I have a purebred Dorper ewe that twinned in the spring 2003, twinned in the fall 2003, twinned again in spring 2004. I did not breed her back for fall 2004. She twinned again this spring. In our records over the last four years, there has been no difference in the production rate between the two breeds or the crossbreds.

    Thanks for the registry info but we register all our sheep in the Dorper Society registry ~ including our crossbred Dorper/Katahdins. We have been breeding up for four years now to purebred Dorper. We made the switch because the $$$ returns for Dorpers in all aspects is MUCH better. More meat, MUCH LESS feed, less management, faster money in the pocket . . .