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American Dorper Sheep Breeders' Society
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Our sheep

Our sheep encompass breeds from registered Dorper Sheep to crossbred sheep. Most of our members have elected to raise Dorper sheep, or, crossbred Dorper sheep.

The Dorper breed of sheep was developed in South Africa during the 1930's and 1940's. The Horned Dorset and the Blackheaded Persian were instrumental in creating the breed. There are two separate breeds of Dorpers: the Dorper and the White Dorper. They are different only in color. The Dorper has a black head and the White Dorper is solid white. Dorpers produce top carcass characteristics. They shed their coats, which eliminates the need for shearing. They are a calm breed. They are able to survive harsh aird conditions and are considered hardy and adaptable to intensive operations. Mature rams weigh approximately 225 to 275 pounds. Mature ewes average approximately 160 to 220 pounds.

Some special characteristics of the Dorper include:

  • hardy and adaptable. They do well in harsh conditions.
  • excellent maternal qualities. They are heavy milkers and the lambs are vigorous.
  • long breeding season. They have an extended breeding season and often manage three lamb crops in two years.
  • reproductive efficiency. Fertile and prolific, they mature early. Lambing rates of 180% can be achieved per lambing.
  • pre-potency. Dorpers cross well with commercial ewes and as terminal sires that produce fast growing, muscular lambs.
  • non-selective grazers. They are excellent converters of a wide range of forage types and excel in grazing operations.
  • heat and insect tolerant. Because of their Blackhead Persian origin, they have a natural tolerance to high temperatures and heavy insect infestations. They survive productively in areas in which other sheep breeds have difficulty.
  • excellent meat qualities. Studies at the University of Idaho demonstrated 30% improvement in tenderness of chops over Suffolk sired lambs.


What to know before purchasing lamb...

Lamb comes from sheep less that one year of age. The French presale lamb is raised on salt meadows near the sea. Imported New Zealand lamb, fed on grass rather than grain, has a somewhat stronger taste. Most mutton sold in the United States comes from sheep between one and two years of age. It has a more robust taste than lamb. Lamb and mutton are available in many different cuts:....Learn More

How do I purchase lamb from the Natural Lamb Co-op?

It's easy to purchase lamb from the Natural Lamb Co-op. Use our quick member locator to find the closest NLC member to you. Learn More

Learn more about lamb...

Lamb and mutton are the primary meat in many parts of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and India. Sheep outnumber all other types of livestock in the world. Run in flocks by migrating people, sheep used to be tough, stringy meat. Modern breeding and raising methods have produced a meat that is both tender and flavorful. Lamb has a mild, unique taste. Mutton has a more robust flavor. The health benefits are many. Learn More



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