Rams have been bought in to increase the genetic pool of our flock from Canadian and New Zealand blood lines. Due to the increase in genetics in our flock it has enabled us to sell breeding animals to other countries such as Germany. In 2013, it was decided to increase our flock further with the purchase of 20 Pedigree White Dorper ewes and two breeding rams. This increase in numbers has allowed better genetic selection and allows culling of animals that do not make the breed requirements. Because our Dorpers can breed all year round and we are trying to build up numbers, the lambing can be a lot more spread out. This could be of great advantage commercially; supplying British supermarkets a constant supply reducing the need for lamb imports from other countries. Thus, in turn reducing food miles, carbon footprint and supporting British Farmers.
Dorpers are hardy animals and are farmed here on our farm in Mid-Wales up to 1200 feet above sea level. They are very easy to lamb with little intervention; lambs are very spritely and are up and suckling within five minutes of birth. Dorper sheep are good mothers and very milky sheep that grow their lambs well. The lambs are more resistant to parasites than some other breeds of sheep and so reduced numbers of anthelmintic treatments are required. The ewes and rams shed their wool in the summer months so no need for crutching or shearing. We are often asked if we have to pick up the wool from the fields. This is not the case as the Dorper grows hair not wool so when shed will just blow away. Therefore, Dorper sheep are less labour intensive freeing up more time for other farm jobs.
‘The real strength of the breed is in the economics as they have a higher killing out percentage then other Breeds, they have more weight in the expensive cuts, bigger lamb chops and hind legs for roast joints.’ The carcase is leaner than a lot of breeds and has an increased level of the healthier unsaturated fats. We believe they are going to be the sheep of the future because of their versatility and low maintenance.
A sheep breed that lays down good quality meat with a good mothering ability, with no need for shearing or crutching has a lot going for it.
We have experimented with some crossing of Dorpers with other breeds like the Texel and Zwartble. The Zwartble crosses are lovely coloured sheep and now have a breed of their own called the ‘Monsa’. The Dorper is an excellent crossing animal for commercial use and lamb production. The Dorper is docile animal with minimal wool making them an easy contester to get ready for the show ring. The Dorper is often seen at the Royal Welsh Show in the any other breed section.
Monty Dorpers often have breeding stock for sale and a sample of our stock can be seen at the Small Holders weekend in Builth Wells and the Welsh NSA sheep event. More information on Dorper sheep can be found at www.dorpersheepsociety.co.uk