Other common names: Horned Dorset; Polled Dorset; Poll Dorset
Dorsets are said to have originated in England when Spain brought Merino sheep to crossbreed with the Horned Sheep of Wales. The resulting breed became known as the Horned Dorset, popular in Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Wales. Purebred Horned Dorsets were introduced to the United States in 1884, and sometime in the 1950s, a hornless variety appeared as a mutation. It became recognized as the Polled Dorset. The Dorset gained popularity and became the leading white-faced sheep and the second largest breed in the U.S.. The popularity of Polled Dorsets now greatly exceeds that of the Horned Dorset.
Appearance / health:
Dorsets (both Horned and Polled) are well-muscled, white sheep with strong, pure white fleece. Their bodies are medium-sized and considered good meat. Dorsets are also known to be good milkers.
One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.
Behavior / temperament:
Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.” They sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away (they are able to twist and turn their ears to detect potential danger) and instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.
Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.
exceptional wool, terminal sire genetics, Dorset wool, desirable carcass, calm demeanor
extremely hotdry climates
twins, lambing percentage, good body length, spring shearing festivals, white faces
Sheep - filthy animals!
I would like to introduce to you our herd of sheep dubbed The M Clan - Minnie, Maxie, Mitsy, and Flo (ok she was an honourary member).
We invested in a herd to save money on property taxes for our farm, and not being previous sheep owner, we had a huge learning curve ahead!
1. Sheep are filthy! They pee and poo I swear 24/7 but really its about every 10 minutes. Coming from the "horse world" where everything was pristine, the "sheep world" was the exact opposite everything was a mess.
2. Sure, sheep are filthy and here's the catch - you need to keep them super clean! From their shelter to their field, it must be clean because sheep are very susceptible to disease! We completely gut the shelter once every week and replace with new straw, and we clean their field at least once a day.
3. Founder is common in sheep as well. This is where the hoof curls upwards and is very painful to walk on. Regular hoof trimming and a watchful diet can prevent founder.
4. Pregnancy in our ewes is always exciting and nerve racking. Constant monitoring is necessary to make sure both mom and babe are healthy and safe. We bed the shelter high with straw and put in a heat lamp to ensure comfortable surroundings.
The M Clan is doing well (RIP Flor and Mitsy) and we never lost a lamb - they are truly one of the cutest creatures in this world. Sheep can be loved just as much as any dog or cat - our sheep even come when they are called! Just be prepared for lots of dirt that you need to clean up!.
From AnimalGalore Jan 19 2015 12:31AM
Best to prevent and Needed to Treat
Regular hoof trimming is important in the health of your sheep and can help reduce foot rot occurrence. Irregular hoofs can keep in mud/dirt and abnormal gaits that can help promote infection. Additionally, once foot rot occurs, trimming off disease portions of the hoof can help speed recovery, but must be combined with antibiotic treatment. By itself, hoof trimming is effective in treatment and along with other management practices is not the only thing needed to prevent the condition. .
From drkirkley 478 days ago
Sheep: Not for the Weary
We got our sheep about 6 months ago from a family getting rid of their livestock and wanting them to go to a loving home. These sheep socialize well with our goats, but are extremely stubborn and very rarely will follow like a stereotypical sheep. We have not yet sheared them, but I believe the wool will be of a decent enough quality to work with. They eat a lot of food, from hay to grains to pretty much anything they come across. Although sheep seem like sweet animals, they really aren't as wonderful as the picturesque image of them is..
From arrinnd Jan 29 2015 5:16PM