Acquired: Worked with animal (didn’t own)
Posted Oct 18, 2015
Our friends have raised Dorper sheep for decades, and we'll be buying our starter herd from them in the future. These are hair sheep, so they don't produce wool and don't need to be sheared. Their hair naturally sheds as it grows out and they get hot. This can make for a messy barn with wads of hair everywhere, but in a field the birds will take care of the little mess from shedding.
Dorper sheep are excellent meat producers that tend to have multiple babies at a time and can breed year-round. The lack of wool makes them great for hot places, but they have enough hair to tolerate freezing as long as it isn't super cold and they have a shelter to get out of snow. They're hardy, healthy, and good grazers. They rarely need any supplement to good pasture to turn your grass into delicious meat. They are friendly if you raise them by hand and aloof if not.
We have never milked these sheep or used their wool; they aren't a multi-purpose breed. But the meat is excellent and they grow fast. The lack of wool means no lanolin to make the meat slimy or taste funny. They taste just as great when you eat an older ram as when you eat young sheep! The only negative I've heard of is lack of parasite resistance, but we've worked past that by focusing on breeding the ones with the best resistance.