The UK Story
The Dorper in England from 2005
The Viridian Dorpers were the first Dorper flock in the UK. This breeding flock was imported from New Zealand by a Berkshire Organic Farmer, Bernadette Dowling of Cranes Farm, East Garston near Hungerford. The first Dorper lambs born in the UK arrived in September 2005.
The British Dorper Sheep Society was formed shortly after.
There is no doubt that the British Dorper will differ slightly to accommodate the British climate as it already has done so in other Countries, especially in Canada with its harsh winter climate.
Contender for British Sheep Industry
As pedigree numbers are still quite low at the moment in the UK it is envisaged that Dorpers will mainly be used for the present time for crossing with native breeds. Either in grading up programmes or to produce top quality composite breeding ewes along the lines of an easier care type system with rising input and labour costs along with poor returns for wool the Dorper obviously has to be a major contender for the future of the British sheep industry.
Quality Dorper Carcass Renowned World Wide
The Dorper is renowned world wide for its quality carcase and conformation and Dorper cross lambs are regularly winning carcase competitions in all the countries that it has been introduced into in recent years.
Even though the UK already has some excellent terminal sire breeds available to flock masters, some of these breeds are not without lambing problems, again causing more labour.
Dorper births are usually completely trouble free due to the breeds high meat to bone ratio and along with a dense hair coat, natural hardiness and amazing vigour they quite literally “Hit the floor running”. Most lambs are on their feet within 5 minutes and suckled within 15 minutes.
Dorpers Adapt and Flourish
Dorpers were bred to adapt and flourish under different conditions; from severe drought to ultra cold and wet, and under these conditions must be able to survive and resist hazards and disease.
The females are excellent mothers with plentiful supply of milk, all this along with NO SHEARING NO CRUTCHING and a greatly reduced incident in fly strike (very rare incidents have been reported) as well as no or very little incidence of ewes becoming stuck on their backs.
Dorper Rams have a mature bodyweight of approx 100-110kgs with ewes 65-75kgs, they are polyoestrus (will breed all year round) with rams having a very high libido.
Early feedback from UK breeders is showing that Dorper cross lambs are grading very well indeed, with R3L being a common place grade and U grades easily obtainable depending on the breed of crossing ewe.
With excellent feed conversion, growth rates and a skin twice the thickness and strength of most other breeds which is the leather of the world renowned “Cape Gloves”.
With wool now being a burden rather than a bonus, go on, make life easier on yourself.
When purchasing pedigree stock always check that the animal matches the details on the certificate - if no certificate is available take note of all ear numbers and contact the Registrar to check if the animal is registered before you purchase.