Animal Diaries Archive
27 July 2007
"What are they?"
"Are they sheep or goats?"
"Are they baby cows?"
These are the questions we hear LOTS of times EVERY day at the moment as patrons look at our five gorgeous black and white babies…
Well, the answer is... they are SHEEP. They're baby sheep, lambs... not goats even though they have hair and a tail, and they're not baby cows even though they have black and white Friesian cow style markings.They are in fact Dorper cross lambs.
The Dorper breed was developed in South Africa in the 1930s from a Blackheaded Persian ewe and a Dorset Horn ram, hence the name Dorper, ie DORset x PERsian. The Persian breed was chosen for its coat shedding and hardiness and the Dorset for its high breeding rate and good meat production. The Dorper sheep can either have a black head and white body or can be all white.
The Dorper breed was first introduced to Australia in 1996 and has become quite popular with farmers. They adapt well to a variety of climatic and grazing conditions, shed their fleece (which is a combination of hair and wool) in late spring or early summer thus eliminating the need for shearing and crutching, plus they don't get flystrike. They are one of the most fertile breeds of sheep with a continuous breeding season and multiple births are common. They are exceptionally good mothers and very protective of their young.
s OUR Dorpers are a cross breed they don't display the classic black head and white body markings, but have different combinations of black and white splotches and patterns making each one an individual. We reckon they're cute as, and judging from all of our guest's comments everyone else does too!Kids Zoo Crew