Hardy & Adaptable: Dorpers are highly adaptable and do well in harsh, extensive conditions as well as in moe intensive operations.
Excellent Maternal Qualities: Ewes are excellent mothers & heavy milkers. Lambs are vigorous and have high survivability.
Long Breeding Season: Dorpers are non-seasonal or have and extended breeding season. They can be easily managed to produce three lamb crops in two years.
Reproductive Efficiency: Dorpers are very fertile & prolific. Lambing rates of 180% can be achieved per lambing. They are early maturing & will produce a lamb crop at one year of age.
Non-Selective Grazers: Dorpers are excellent converters of a wide range of forage types and they excel in grazing or weed control operations.
Parasite Tolerant: Studies indicate Dorpers are better able to deal with a parasite burden than many other breeds.
Although the items above were taken from the American Dorper Sheep Breeders' Society brochure, we have found all statements above to be true in our situation.
The last lambing crop - the April lambs which can be viewed in the "For Sale" section - netted a 200% lambing rate with a 180% live rate - on pasture lambing!
We have also found the "Non-Selective Grazer" statement to be very true. They are fantastic for weed control!!!
Sheep tend to stay a lot healthier & in better flesh if they are kept on "growing" pasture - that is to say, they are rotated so that the grass does not go dormant AND warm season pastures are used in conjunction with the cool season grasses so they always graze on a grass that is in a growth stage.
"Flushing" the ewes will get you twins & triplets vs. singles & twins. I was really surprised at the increase in lambs by flushing the ewes starting about 20 days before turning the ram in.
Ewes can raise triplets. Be careful to watch for a weak one, though - especially in the beginning.
Using a marking harness when breeding sure MAKES LIFE A LOT EASIER at lambing time!!
Don't forget to change the "crayon" in the harness every two weeks.
Sheep never seem to go all the way to their due date.
Hog Panels make really nice, quick dividers for overflow jugs.