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Copyright © Brackenlea Holdings 2012
Web Site designed by Oak Grove Graphics
Member of the Dorper Society Inc. of Australia
Why do people run sheep?
Sheep are easily managed ruminant animals that are ideal for Extensive Farming operations. It is estimated that there are over 1 billion wondering the planet at the moment and their popularity isn’t hard to fathom as they offer so many opportunities including:
Commercial - For centuries sheep have been bred on farms to generate an income or feed and clothe a family or community. While today some enterprises generate the bulk of their revenue from sheep many others operate mixed farming ventures where sheep compliment other activities. As a commodity the relative commercial value of sheep fluctuates with the market however consistently sheep prove their value as a manageable, low cost, profitable option compared to other livestock systems.
Environmental - We sell sheep to a number of landholders who find them ideal for weed control. Dairy farmers run them with their herds to control invasive species such as fireweed which is toxic to cattle and they are even run in rubber plantations in Malaysia where research has shown sheep reduce the overall costs of weed control by up to 36%. Sheep manure is a slow-release fertilizer which is low in nitrogen, compared to other manures so is unlikely to burn plants yet is high in phosphorous and potassium – great for grass growth. In addition, sheep are also very efficient in spreading their own fertilizer dropping it randomly where ever they graze.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation in 2006 there were 1229 breeds of sheep in existence, so what makes us think Dorpers should be placed top of this genetic tree? Essentially it is the fact that Dorpers present as a highly economic proposition that won it for us. They have an excellent feed utilization and conversion and have an extremely fast growth rate. On the cost side they don’t require expensive supplementary feeding and labour costs are reduced to a minimum due to their low need for maintenance. Specific Dorper attributes that are worth noting are:
Shedding ability - Having bred Merino’s for a number of years and steadily seeing wool prices go one way and operating costs the other, a sheep that doesn’t require shearing is a relief. This attribute also obviates the need for crutching and mulesing (which we didn’t do with our Merinos) and significantly reduces the chance of fly-strike. This greatly reduces labour costs and the need to use some very questionable chemicals.
Hardiness - The Dorper is a nonselective feeder and will eat most weeds and grasses. The breed’s maternal origin is the Black Headed Persian, a desert sheep that has adapted and thrived under extremely harsh conditions for centuries. More recently breeders in Australia and the USA report that during periods of severe drought their Dorpers have maintained weight and continue to regularly reproduce.
Fertility - Compared to many other breeds Dorpers have high lambing rates. Also, Dorpers are polyoestrus meaning they don’t have a definite breeding season. As a result they commonly breed continuously making three lambings in 2 years quite achievable. In addition, they have a strong mothering instinct and milk supply.
Fast growing – Dorpers consistently achieve a finishing weight faster than other breeds and do this with lower food intake levels. Average lamb weights are 40kg at 100 days.
Ideal for extensive and sustainable farming models – The Dorper’s size, low maintenance attributes, minimal input costs, fertility, fast growth rates and great temperament make them a livestock group well worth considering if you have a small to medium sized acreage and you wish to pursue extensive and sustainable farming objectives.
We discuss these and other Dorper attributes as well as Dorper husbandry issues in far greater detail in our Observations Blog. Please join us to learn more, ask a question or challenge us on any Dorper matter.
Why you may choose Mogendoura Dorpers as your Dorper supplier?
Our primary breeding objective is to make quality Dorper genetics available at a very affordable price to small to medium Australian landholders. Currently our gene pool consists of South African Mickey Phillips and Tien Jordan bloodlines as well as Amarula, Kaya, Dell and Burrawang lines from Australia. From this pool we select stock for sale with the small to medium sized landholder in mind and place particular attention on:
Some registered ewes with their ewe lambs at 6 weeks
Our dorpers thrive on native grasses - no need for expensive supplements
A major selling feature of dorpers is their shedding ability but make sure you are purchasing a pure bred and not a cross, read more in our Blog
Conformation – We aim to replicate and pass on the breeds typical characteristics of a barrel shaped body, black hair on the head. A loose light covering of hair with a clean kemp underline and an evenly distributed thin layer of fat. Within this package we select for soundness particularly with regard s to feet and gait.
Fit for purpose –Whatever your reasons for purchasing a Dorper, the animal needs to perform to your realistic expectations whether this be in area of reproduction (fertility, conception, ease of lambing, mothering), meat production or simply the resilience to handle your particular farm.
Dorpers are renowned for their mothering ability
Disposition- The last thing you need is to be chasing stock all over your property. Thankfully, Dorpers are easy to handle and have a quiet nature. Our animals are yarded nightly due to dog attacks so from birth have had daily interaction with humans. We do not use dogs to muster but have trained our animals to respond to a call or the sound of a bucket with some sheep nuts. This takes stress out of the handling processes for both you and the animal.
Finally, all rams are tested for Brucellosis and only animals from Brucellosis free flocks are permitted on Brackenlea.
Once again check out For Sale page and Observations Blog for the latest sale information and information regarding our breeding exploits.