Dorper Versus Damara Sheep

10 posts

Member for

7 years 4 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/03/2014 - 21:44

Dorper Versus Damara Sheep

Hi,

I'm interested in Dorper or Damara Sheep. Firstly I'd like to know if they will graze on Tropical Grasses which contain Oxalates mainly Signal Grass or Bracchia and will this grass have any affect on their health or kidney's. Also how do they fair in the tropic's as it can be very wet.

And finally Dorper's Versus Damara's. I'm split.. Or should I go 50/50 X Breed?

TIA

Brian

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Brian,

I can't answer the first part of your question because my field is cattle and goats. However regarding the establishment of pasture with Urochloa decumbens formerly known as Brachia decumbens, I can give you some info on that.

The grass contains a low level of oxalate 1.0 - 1.1 %,  which has been reported in Qld to cause some problems in sheep if the pasture is dominated by signal grass: U decumbens. It is recommended to sow with a mixture of other grasses and perhaps add one of the stylos to the mix e.g. Secca or Verana as a companion legume.

Signal grass is reported to be not as palatable when flowering. It is tolerant of acid acid soils and aluminium containing soils. Doesn't like being waterlogged. In my area, which has acid soil, we often plant Rhodes grass and Secca Stylo as a pasture mix. Also Bisset Creeping Blue grass is quite a good choice in the tropics and sub tropics.

Signal grass may not be too persistant and may need to be resown in pasture after a couple of years.

Hope this helps,

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/03/2014 - 21:44

Hi Barb. Thank you for your reply. Yes, you'r re right the Oxalate levels are quite low as far as some of the Tropical Grasses are concerned. My problem is that the Bracchia is very thick, and waist high and I was looking the possibilty of introducing sheep on to it as a way of keeping it under control. My thoughts were, they could graze free range on it during the day and suppliment thier diet with a Lucerne,Oaten, or Wheaten Chaff mix, Pellets/Grain, and a good mineral suppliment and pen them at night.

 I have horses grazing on it as well, and whilst I am aware it causes Bighead, they are handfed AM/PM with a Calcium & Mineral Suppliment everyday, so Bighead has never been a problem. The horses are also supplimented with loads of Rhodes Hay.  As for eradicating the Bracchia and introducing new grasses like Rhodes which would be the best in this area. I've never known anyone to eradicate Bracchia or Signal grass, it's just such a prolific seeder. It dies of during the dry season to bare ground, but once the rains come, it is back.  Being on small acrage as well the horses would slaughter any other species of grass as they wouldn't stand up to the rigor of the Bracchia over running it either. 

Thanks again for your advice. Appreciate your reply.

 

Brian

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Brian,

you're welcome. Would slashing help? Also, I hope someone else can answer your query about the sheep.

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/03/2014 - 21:44

HI Barb, I think slashing might be the only option. It's very thick and collapses under its own weight when it rains too, leaving it like a carpet of heavy grass. My be I should adopt a few weiners, the cattle love the stuff. 

Thanks again

Brian

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Brian,

yep weiners could be a good idea as cross grazing will help to keep the worms (intestinal parasites) down.

cheers,

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/03/2014 - 21:44

Barb, Thank you so much for all your advice. Really appreciate it

Regards

Brian

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/04/2014 - 21:02

Hi Brian,

I have tried Damara sheep and prefer Dorpers as a low maintenance variety. The Damaras are nice but they have very little meat once butchered, however it is quite flavoursome. They seem to be a cross between a sheep and a goat. Dorpers are known to be one of the best meat varieties available.

Hope this is helpfull,

Wayne. 

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/30/2014 - 15:00

I have pure Damara sheep with a Dorper ram and believe me, they will eat anything short but if it is tall, cut it down and when the tall stuff dies they will eat that too and this also goes for my alpacas .

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 09/15/2014 - 20:14

Hi Brian,

I have tried Wilsthire x Damara sheep and agree with a previous poster about the quantity of the meat, I too changed to dorpers and could not be happier. Low maintenance, easy care and quick growing, sorry I can't comment on how they would handle the tropics.

When you drive around do you see other sheep? I would think the high rain fall would cause issues with their feet but I could not say for sure.

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