I own Damara sheep in the dry tropics.. ie they go from wet season and mud nearly straight into drought on an annual basis. I now have a flock of 25 which is self-sustaining on our property and recently put a lamb into the freezer. It is excellent eating. I will attest that he was well bred, well fed and butchered beautifully. There are two ways to produce quality meat and it has everything to do with nutrition and careful slaughtering.
Dorpers were developed in South Africa the dry bottom end of the African continent. Damaras have been bred all over the African continent. I first got onto them when I asked an employee of mine what sort of sheep they had in the Congo.
Much of the joy of Damaras is in their handling, they are remarkably easy to handle. Also, they eat the same forage as goats and do very well. Damaras do not pressure fences. I WILL REPEAT MYSELF. Damaras do NOT pressure fences. They have such a flock commitment, I believe from reading, that you cannot call any composite Damara under about 70% 'damara' because they lose that flocking ability. Also, if you are on a small place like me. I can 'handle' a 65kg ram. I am not shrinking violet but a 100kg dorper would be beyond me.
Your question pertained to the rams. Any domestic animal in a farm situation can be troublesome up to dangerous, especially, if they are 'tame'. It is in the nature of the hormones and gender.. not breed or species.
We have a lead ram called 'Rambo'.... if the girls are on season, he will try and confront you. I would advise you never tame a working ram, their instincts and familiarity will come back to hit you. Best you always keep him at arms length. There are always exceptions. We have owned a stallion that the kids could play with .. etc etc..
Teela, I live in the tropics, as you know... we get from 800 to 1800mm of rain in a season. I have never seen signs of footrot. I dont think I am an exception, I know 2 others with damaras up here and none of them have mentioned it and they are both better stockmen than I am.
The big plus I see about Damaras is their manageability. They are the easiest animals I have ever owned and I am very new to sheep.
mike, Katherine NT in the hot dry tropical savannah bit of Australia.