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Dorper ewes


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A friend has been very kind and gave me 8 young open dorper ewes. They came yesterday. I talked to the friend late last night. She says they have not been giving grain to these girls. And very little grass hay. They have great pastures but...

These ladies are the fattest sheep I've ever seen for not being bred. not wormy, work well and don't tire out as fast as you'd think by looking at them. They've been wormed recently.

I've had dorpers before and I know they tend to be short and stubby but these ladies are just round!

So WTH, I'm stumped as to how they got this fat.

I will see if I can get a picture later today.

Any ideas?

They're so big I wonder if they will even breed. They won't be getting anything but pasture for the time being.

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Easy keepers...well these must be SUPER EASY keepers. Maybe that's my problem too, I'm an easy keeper who likes to cook!


I will be putting a round bale out today for my other sheep who are not easy keepers, guess I'll have to seperate the the 2 groups.

I have 4 rams, 2 black face and 2 blue face, they are not looking like easy keepers except 1 black and 1 blue face, they look beautiful. The other 2 look way to thin for winter. It'll be interesting to see what dorper (with color) and black or blue face produce.


The only time I've ever seen sheep this large was my first year of lambing, If I walked by the sheep, I fed the sheep. I also lost some lambs because they were to large to fit through the birth canal.

I've never put sheep on a diet before, Maybe a bit more dog work and they'll trim down a bit. Other wise, I'm not going to worry, they are nice ladies!

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One thing to remember is that wide sheep are not necessarily fat sheep. The condition of sheep can only be assessed by putting your hands on their rumps and determining how much flesh and fat cover is present. Google "Body Condition Scoring Sheep" for instructions on how to do this.


I've seen a few flocks of wide-body sheep (Dorpers, Texels, old-style Dorsets) that people thought were fat that were actually on the thin side when you put your hands on them. This would be especially true if you were used to looking at Rambouillet crosses, Columbia crosses, show-ring Dorsets or Suffolks and the like. It's easy to mistake a broad rib cage and large rumen capacity for condition.


I have never known sheep to be too fat to breed. I have seen a few that were too fat to deliver easily, but it's not that common. If you were to try to breed these sheep now and they failed, I would be more inclined to think that the issue was that we are coming into the season of anestrous as the days start getting longer. That's less of an issue for you than me (our daylength changes more and the rate of change is faster than yours, since we are farther north).

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These sheep haven't really settled yet but when they get a bit more comfortable I will get my hands on all of them a bit better. But I think double chins (not bottle jaw) and rumps that jiggle when they trot is more that wide sheep. COuld be wrong and till I get my hands on them I won't know for sure. I will add that the fattest of them all is one of the blackface ram's new best friend so I think they are still able to breed. We'll see.... Both the blackface rams are now hanging with them instead of their reg. probably bred group of Katadhins.

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I bought a couple of Dorper ewes earlier this year and by the fall of this year, they were wide bodies as well. I sold one and she has been bred and the one that I kept looks pregnant, but, of course, she's not as I have no ram. She gets no grain; just hay now and was on pasture most of the summer. I've not put my hands on her rump but will do that tomorrow when I see her just so I can determine just how fat she is.


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