This weekend my husband and I attended the Mid-American Dorper Sheep Show and Sale located in Duncan, Oklahoma. We attempt to attend this event each years. It is the nearest Dorper event to where we live. At this event Dorper and White Dorper sheep are shown and sold at auction.
The show and sale are for registered fullblood or pureblood Dorpers and White Dorper sheep. The sheep in the show and sale are to be breeding stock Dorpers. The classes are divided into Dorper Rams, Dorper Ewes, White Dorper Rams, White Dorper Ewes, and Pens of Three Ewes for Dorper and White Dorper breeds. Each class of sheep are divided by age into groups, then those groups divided into classes of 30 or less sheep. There were hundreds of sheep being shown for each breed. More than the previous year.
I watched most of the classes. Overall I was pleased with the exhibition of Dorper sheep. There were some sheep who clearly should have not been at the show or sale, as there was too much white heads and ears of a few sheep. The pigment of the skin on both Dorper and especially White Dorper sheep was missing. There were large and small sheep farms not culling their breeding stock to maintain the Dorper and White Dorper standard. Important note for those beginning to raise a registered breed of sheep for breeding stock, do the breed a justice by culling those who are not the best match for the best of the breed standard.
Some sheep farmers strive to produce sheep meeting the highest quality of the breed stand on all aspects. There are some who only breed the sheep to win and sale at the Dorper events.
I strive with the breeding stock, to have the best sheep representing the breed. I sale mostly commercial breeding stock, the sheep I feel are not the best representative of the Dorper standard, but will produce a good lamb to place on the dinner table. I work at improving both the seed or breeding stock and the commercial stock with each mating.
We had fun meeting up with friends we have made who raise Dorper sheep and making some new ones. One of the main focuses for me at these events is to see the improvement of bloodlines from my friends and those sheep farmers showing for the first time at the event.
The sale was good. Some of the sheep went for way more than I thought they should have sold for, some for less. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The saying is true of those buying sheep.
I am very selective of which sheep farms I purchase sheep from, especially at auctions. I did purchase three purebreed ewes from a sheep farmer we have known for five years. He was thrilled we purchased his sheep. I am glad to have them in my flock.
Some of the sheep farmers only income is raising and selling sheep at Dorper and White Dorper only events. I choose to be more diverse. I raise sheep for breeding farms who want to show and sell at these type of events. But I also have breeding sheep for commercial only sheep farmers who want to raise a fast growing market lamb. All my sheep go through evaluation, registered or not I will cull those who I do not think are good enough for breeding to be market sheep for someone’s table.
When selecting sheep for breeding, from shows and sales or the individual farmer and yourself, the critical eye is very vital. Sentiment and emotions have no place when selecting an animal for the breeding seed stock flock. There is nothing wrong with sending a less than breeding stock quality lamb to the slaughter.
Critical culling is the best tool for improving your genetics and improving your sheep.