We’ve raised sheep for many years including Suffolks, fine wools, St. Croix and Polypays. About fifteen years ago we started looking for more efficient, easy care sheep that didn’t require shearing and had good maternal and carcass traits.
In 1997 we purchased our first two fullblood White Dorper rams. Over the years we purchased eight more fullblood W. Dorper rams. The breed has worked out very well for us, producing high quality lambs on forage and cutting labor requirements.
In 1999 we traveled to Australia in search of top White Dorper genetics to expand our bloodlines. We returned to Australia again in 2002, 2007, 2010 and 2012 and have traveled extensively looking for rams that possessed traits valuable to the breed. Over these thirteen years we have seen a dramatic expansion of Dorpers in Australia.
Besides visual appraisal we use Lambplan performance records to make decisions on semen purchases. Lambplan has definitely played a role in the success of the breed in Australia. Also we have come to appreciate Australian stud breeders for the emphasis they put on production traits, sound feet and good shedding.
Through an ambitious breeding program using artificial insemination, performance testing and visual appraisal our goal has been to produce top quality White Dorpers; not only animals that fit the South African Breed Standard but also sheep that are easy to raise and excel in performance and carcass traits. Our White Dorpers are registered with the American Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society. We have a large flock of registered purebreds and a few fullbloods, but most of our White Dorpers are purebred. All the A.I. rams we have purchased semen from are fullblood.
Besides our registered flock we also raise commercial White Dorpers and Angus cattle. We are a family run operation.
For those who are new to Dorpers the origin and history of Dorper and White Dorper sheep is available on the ADSBS website so we won’t go into it here. Instead we would like to share our observations on White Dorpers in our environment.
• White Dorpers are non-selective grazers that can “cover the country” and utilize a wide range of forages. They are strong, active and have good appetites.
• White Dorpers are high capacity sheep with the ability to utilize large volumes of roughage. This helps avoid metabolic conditions like lambing paralysis in late pregnancy.
• White Dorper lambs are vigorous at birth, have good growth rates and are able to produce a quality carcass on forage alone.
•The breed is prepotent and can pass on good maternal and carcass traits to their offspring when crossed with other breeds of sheep.
• Dorper lambs have the ability to put on muscle and finish at an early age. This is an advantage over many breeds since it provides more marketing options. Dorper lambs can be sold at light weights for ethnic or “hot house” lambs or retained to heavier weights to fit the traditional market up to about 120-130 pounds. However they are not suited for extended grain feeding in a traditional feedlot situation.