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 Post subject: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:46 am 
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Location: Bullsbrook WA (temperate)
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I have been looking into a small meat animal for my five acres and wanted some thing that was low maintinance with quality meat. I came across the Damara which is a sheep but looks and acts like a goat.

The following description of their positive traits comes from http://www.damaras.com/wds.html

"They are low cost survivors. As hair sheep they don't need shearing. Their fat tail is like the camel's hump - a store of fat reserves laid down in good times for use in the drought. They have smooth clean rear ends, unattractive to blow flies (but extremely attractive to Kiwis). They don't need shearing, crutching or docking. They are agile and alert, and stick together in herds for mutual protection against predators. And they are very fertile, all-season breeders. Lambing percentages average from 110% to 130%. Damara ewes can have their first lamb by the time they are one year old."

Sounds perfect for me atm, while an animal that can produce meat, milk and fibre is more desirable I don't really have the time for the work involved in milking and protecting from fly strike. I just want the meat and something to keep the grass down.

I have not got any yet as I will need to work on my fencing as apparently they will destroy poor quality fencing the same as goats.


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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:13 am 
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Actually the Mini Meat Sheep which is also a cleanskin would be perfect, pitty they are still hard to get in Australia

http://members.bordernet.com.au/~genelink/mini.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Dorpa sheep are very similar by the sounds of it, no shearing, or mulesing, and often having twins.

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:40 pm 
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Yep they are both cleanskins and if you cross a Damara with a dorper you get a Damper which perform very well in the Australian heat.

The Mini meat sheep are a White dorper hybid which could truely be a backyard farm animal as you would not need much room to keep them. A 1/4 acre block could probably be used to fatten a lamb (with supplimentary fgeed) then :bat: and get a new one next spring

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Any idea how big the mini sheep get?

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Quote from Cantebury Park rare breeds sheep farm:

http://members.bordernet.com.au/~genelink/mini.htm

"The White Dorper influence has given a good muscling on a small sheep that can produce lamb carcasses of 18kg in approximately 5 months."

That is not bad, we used to get Poll Dorset X Marino fat lambs to market at a live weight of ~28kg in the same time frame.

I would estimate that they would be about 2/3 the size of a normal sheep, great from small land holders and they take up less room in the freezer.

The place above seems to be the only place in Australia that breeds them atm and they are selling 3 breeding pairs in Feb at the SA sheep sales. If only I lived in SA, I might contact them after the sale to see if they sold them all.

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:09 pm 
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I saw some really small sheep on the "beachcomber cottage" show a couple of weeks back, only came up to knee high. I think they may have been something a bit like this:

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These are called a Soay sheep, and the mature ewes only grow to about 50lb.

http://www.soaysheep.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Simo wrote:
Yep they are both cleanskins and if you cross a Damara with a dorper you get a Damper which perform very well in the Australian heat.

Is that for real or are you just taking the piss :dunno:

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:07 pm 
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for real

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:17 pm 
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Simo,

Did you ever get any Daramas?

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:06 pm 
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Not yet, I still have to finish the fencing properly and wait for a horse to die :swing:

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Simo wrote:
Not yet, I still have to finish the fencing properly and wait for a horse to die :swing:

There are things you can doto speed that up eh :) :bat: :devil:


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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:04 pm 
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Yeah, old horses tend to die for no reason at all don't they?

:dunno:

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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:21 pm 
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I used to have some damaras. They are quite skittish and can jump fences if scared by a dog for instance. They are good at going under fences so its important to have good fences with them.
If I were you I would try and get a few tame ones, ones that have had a lot of hand feeding. It makes it so much easier when you have to worm them or move them to another paddock.
The meat is delicious, not much fat as their fat is stored in their tail.


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 Post subject: Re: Damara sheep
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:45 pm 
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Perhaps start with some lambs and hand rear them as well as get them used to the dog?

Half of my fencing is new. Most of the remaining fence is good with a few areas which will need attention. Hopefully if they are use to the dog and there is plenty of feed they won't feel the need to escape or is there a better breed I could look at?

Daramas tick a lot of boxes for me however with no need to shear, hardy, no need to dock tails as well as no or reduced maintenance in terms of lice.

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