Our experience with White Dorpers started over twenty years ago. We wanted to expand our sheep numbers but were discouraged by the amount of labor involved for a traditional family run sheep operation. The first goal was to get rid of shearing since the wool we were producing was not worth the cost of shearing.
Our first hair sheep were St. Croix sheep from the Virgin Islands. These certainly did cut labor requirements; not only did they eliminate shearing, but also could be counted on to lamb on pasture without requiring the use of jugs or penning ewes at lambing. They were also quite worm resistant.
The main problem with our St. Croix was their slower growth rate, so we started looking for a terminal sire breed that would add faster growth and better carcass traits without adding wool or birthing problems.
About this time (1996) Dorpers started to come into the U.S. We tried them as terminal sires and the results were outstanding. We could have stopped at this point but realized the W. Dorpers had all the easy care characteristics of the St. Croix but had more milk production and very good carcass characteristics.
The first U.S. Dorper importations from S. Africa were limited and very expensive. However, they were coming into Australia at a much faster rate. Australian breeders enrolled on LambPlan were building EBVs to track performance and establish genetic ties between flocks.
We are able to access these genetics and have imported semen from over 40 different W. Dorper sires to date. By using laparoscopic A.I. on our W. Dorper ewes and utilizing LambPlan we have continued to improve our sheep while still maintaining a closed flock.
Dorpers and White Dorpers are strong, maternal and adaptable sheep that have done well for us in both excessively hot and cold climates. We feel W. Dorpers have a lot to offer and are one of the fastest growing meat sheep breeds in the U.S.