View Full Version : Anyone got Damara sheep?
03-05-2007, 11:00 AM
I am doing a bit of feasibility study as I have had the idea to run a small family meat flock. I originally was looking into Wiltshire Horns but I like the look of the Damaras so I have done a bit of reading on them.
There are a few things I haven't been able to find out from reading breed and stud websites. Things like what age is best to slaughter them and what age range is suitable for slaughter. My idea was to run 4 ewes and a ram, with their offspring to supply meat for our extended family. With 4 lambs a year we would kill one roughly every 3 months and divide the meat between us. If it turned out that we needed more or less we could alter numbers as we go. There would be up to three families of four and a couple of singles to supply with meat.
The other thing I need to know is how they are with fences. Do they need mesh fences or will plain wires keep them in? Anything else I should consider?
03-05-2007, 01:37 PM
Hi. I have Damara sheep. After a few years keeping the woolie breeds, mainly for meat we eventually replaced them with Damaras. We love them and they are so much easier to take care of.
We like the look of them too. They come in all colours, spotted ones too.
They make good, protective mothers. They are one of the most hardy sheep breeds, being able to graze and thrive in our dryer and hotter climate. (where are you located?) We don't buy in any feed for our sheep, this makes it all too expensive, but luckily there's nearly always enough feed. They seem to eat almost anything (except onion weed darn it). Saltbush makes good fodder.
Their unusual tails tell their story of how well they have fared a dry year....the tail will be fat in a healthy sheep who has had plenty of feed. In a sheep who has had less to graze the tail will be thinner.
With regard to fences, ours will often get through the basic sheep wire fence, but only if there is something yummy on the other side. (in our case they are always after the olive trees on the other side) It's usually only 1 or 2 trouble makers who do this and they are the 1st off to the butchers. We have a mesh fence as a boundry and they never get through that, also we have the advantage that mesh keeps out the local dogs.
They will wreck havoc on any trees you may have in the paddock. Ours chew the bark of almost any species of tree,(I think all sheep will do this) Olives seem to be their favourite. They are quite happy to stand on their hind legs to gain access to leaves/bark of any higher branches.
We have 10 Damara and Damara cross ewes and a Dorper cross Wiltipole ram. We have found this mix to be the best for meat sheep. We get roughly 20 kilos dressed weight in about 20 weeks. We find that 1 sheep lasts roughly one month (family of four) so you might need more than four ewes. When we crossed Damara to Damara the weights wern't so high. Twins are always nice to build your flock but take much longer to get good weight for slaughter.
The worst thing I have found with Damara sheep is they are just so darn flighty. This is because they are a pure breed and this run n flee instinct is exactly what they needed to survive in the wild. The best way to solve this is to run a few hand raised ones in with the flock. Our cross breeds are also less flighty.
Apparently there is also a market for the skins (in the purebred ones) but as yet I haven't really looked into that.
Go for the Damaras, they are great.
03-05-2007, 02:09 PM
Thanks for that, Teela, some things to think about. It is always nice to hear from someone who has hands-on experience with living with a breed.
Thankyou for that wonderful post !
We are looking for something similar to Jodie,I was thinking goats but I would perfer sheep.I suppose they eat more grass than goats do,this is a plus for us we have mobs of grass.
I would love to see a couple of pics please.
03-05-2007, 06:03 PM
Its really great to hear first hand what damara are like teela. Are they expensive to buy?
04-05-2007, 02:54 AM
Does anyone have Icelandic sheep down there?
I have read they have beautiful wool, excellent meat and make great milkers. Three uses that seems really good for an animal.
22-07-2007, 03:51 PM
Hello everyone- I'm new to the forum -found it quite by accident when I typed the words "Damara sheep".
If anyone has any further questions on either the Damara or Dorper sheep I may be able to help. My husband & I were actually the first to import the frozen embryos into Australia. We had several thousand in our 2 stud flocks while farming in Western Australia. We've recently bought a property on the Gold Coast which will require considerable work to improve the clay soil to establish nice gardens -any helpful advice in this department would be greatly asppreciated. I like what I've read so far on the forum.
Look forward to participating further.Thanks with regards,
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.1 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.