Why Dorper Sheep?
Glad you asked!
As we settled into our new location on the grassland plains south of Calhan, Colorado, we knew we wanted to expand our ranch to include a variety of animals that were well suited for our area.
When researching mutton sheep, the Dorper breed just seemed the right fit.
Top Reasons we chose Dorpers
- Hardy and Adaptable – Dorper Sheep do well in arid/hot regions, while their thick skin also provides them protection in harsh winter weather.
- Excellent Maternal Qualities – Ewes are excellent mothers and heavy milkers. Lambs are vigorous and have high survival rates where other breeds perish.
- Long Breeding Season – Dorper sheep are either non-seasonal or have an extended breeding season so both rangeland and ranch/farm operations can be managed to alleviate stress on land and animals. Adaptable and flexible breeding also allows for more control over assessing and preserving rangeland health in harsh drought years without massive sell off or culling of a herd.
- Track record of easy lambing – Easy lambing equates into less stress on the animals and less stress on owners to ‘do things right’ for quality of life for their herds, as well as business bottom lines.
- Non-Selective Grazers – Dorper sheep are excellent at thriving on a wide range of forage types, making them great additions to rangeland management plans that include other grazers not so well adapted; they also aide with weed control.
- Heat & Insect Tolerant – Because of their Blackhead Persian breed heritage, Dorpers have the ability to succeed and flourish in challenging conditions where other breeds rarely survive.
- Shedding vs. Shearing – Although Dorpers may, dependent upon their pedigree, require more or less shearing than other hair sheep who naturally shed, they are prized for less time spent shearing areas that take more time (belly, legs, head and other nooks & crannies that take care & time.) Shedding depends on many factors, but shearing simply a body fleece is accomplished more quickly, overall, for those who do their own shearing OR hire in shearers.
- Milder Meat Flavor – Lambs are raised on mother’s milk and reach butchering age & weight on good rangeland via pasture/grass fed alone. Dorper Sheep do not do well on heavy grain diet and are so good thriving on forage, it makes sense for a well rounded ranch with forage available to look to this breed for more resilient and sustainable operations.
- The Dorper skin is highly prized and sought after – this means more full use of every animal raised for butchering.
While there is not one breed that is perfect fit for every environment or small family farm/ranch/homestead plan – we chose Dorper sheep for our ranch, simply because, we view our animals and landscape, the same way we see ourselves and the partnerships we form in human commerce relationships.
Resources that are valued and used wisely as part of a resilient, local network, including quality of life and respect for the full value each contributor brings to the table, is, for us, the way to work in tandem with all our ecosystem, to achieve a higher quality for all involved.
Dorper sheep are, given the natural way of just being themselves, in our environment, for a variety of customers and daily ranch operations, bottom lines in profitability, a really good fit.
Many thanks to the following websites & authors, where you, too, can learn more if our short list of why we chose this breed, has you intrigued!