How to Feed Dorper Sheep

By Louise Lawson

The dorper sheep is one of the largest species of meat sheep in the world. Developed in South Africa in the 1930s by crossing dorset-horned and black-headed Persian sheep, the sturdy dorper spread around the globe due to its ease of care and high meat output. Meat sheep are fed a slightly different diet than wool or milk sheep, resulting in larger muscle mass and higher weights on market day.

Worm your sheep before turning them out on spring pasture and again after fall grazing is complete. Sheep are prone to internal parasites such as barber pole and roundworms, and you should worm your flock regularly with a liquid wormer to prevent infestations and promote proper weight gain.

Turn your dorper sheep out on green, growing pasture during the spring, summer and fall. Dorpers spend the majority of their time grazing, which allows them to gain weight at a faster pace than other breeds.

Supplement your sheep's routine grazing with clean grass hay. While young, growing grass may be tasty to sheep, it may lack nutrients. Open a large round bale of hay in the pasture and spread the hay out to encourage the sheep to eat. Add another bale when the flock finishes the first one.

Keep the water trough filled with clean, fresh water. Dorpers are hearty eaters and must stay well-hydrated to prevent impaction. Empty the trough once a week and scrub out algae with a stiff-bristled brush before refilling.

Fill a feed trough with a layer of cracked corn. Dorpers easily gain weight, and a few bites of corn with each meal adds the extra weight necessary for heavy market sheep. Empty the trough if the corn gets rained on to prevent digestive issues from moldy corn.