Posted Aug 10, 2015
We have had Dorper (dorset x persian) sheep here for a while. They are the result of a cross between the Blackhead Persian ewe and a Dorset Horn ram. They are a hardy animal, the hot summers, cold winters and, dry years experienced in inland Australia are no problem for this robust South African breed. Dorpers are easy to maintain, being a shedding sheep they do not suffer from the many problems affecting wool producers such as fly strike.
Dorpers will often have two, sometimes three lambs at a time and generally don't give you too much trouble with lambing. Sometimes the second or third lamb may need a bit of assistance so if your ewe has dropped one or two but not the afterbirth, feel her belly for signs of another lamb. They are good mothers and protective of their young; they are also good milk producers. The young will quickly start grazing and put on weight rapidly.
Our biggest ram - "The Beast" (so named because he was the first to receive a chip implant) had a live weight of at least 120kg. Unfortunately the kids trained him to be aggressive by encouraging him to chase them when he was young. By the time he reached maturity they realized their mistake but it was too late - 120kg of bad attitude coming right at you. We have had other aggressive rams since, but none like him. A bucket of water or a whack on the nose sorts most of them out.
The Beast suffered a humiliating death - a blocked urinary tract. By the time I figured out what it was, the boys had already put him out of his misery and into the freezer.
If you want a low maintenance meat producing sheep, this is the one. Ugly as hell and not too friendly but good value for money.