Damara sheep the best breed for South African farming
Do you want to farm Damara sheep? From their strong maternal instincts to their resistance to disease, there are plenty of reasons why these sheep are so popular among South African farmers. You can find a wide range of Livestock on AgriMag.
The first Damara sheep
Damara sheep originate in Namibia and they were first brought to the Free State in 1987 by sheep. They purchased a diverse range of authentic Damara sheep from different owners and breeders to ensure that the animals on their farm had a broad genetic base. Since then the breed has grown in strength and local farmers are putting in the effort to maintain the authenticity of the breed.
These sheep are resistant to disease and are also very fertile. They’re able to thrive in difficult conditions, which makes them an attractive addition to your farm, and their strong horns enable them to keep predators at bay.
This breed gets its name from the Damara region in Namibia and they can be found in desert areas across Africa, which includes Mali and Nigeria. In these challenging conditions, only the strongest sheep survive, which has led to the breed’s strong genetics. Their evolution in these conditions has also decreased lambing issues.
Damara sheep characteristics
Damara sheep have strong maternal instincts. The mothers are extremely protective of their lambs, so it is unlikely that a ewe will reject her progeny. The mothers will sometimes remain with their newborn for a couple of days before rejoining the other sheep. The flock helps to keep the lambs safe by positioning them in the middle of the herd so that they are protected from predators by the bigger sheep. The mothers always keep their lambs safe and farmers have seen a ewe lying down to feed their injured lamb. Ewes give birth to two lambs a year on average.
Damara sheep stick together as a flock, which means they are less of a target for predators. These animals are also very alert, which helps to safeguard them from predators. Their tendency to stick together also makes it difficult for stock thieves to capture an individual animal. They have a strong resistance to disease as well as to parasites. These animals graze grass as well as bossieveld and their legs are also strong enough to allow them to reach leaves. Damara sheep are characterised by their strong bones and they are also great mountain climbers.
Today’s Damara sheep
Damara sheep farmers suggest that there are only 3 000 authentic Damaras remaining in our country. They also believe that the flocks in Namibia have been compromised due to crossbreeding. The commercial aspect of Damara sheep breeding originates at the Omatjenne Research Station. The characterisation of the breed began at this institute close to Otjiwarongo at the end of the 1950s.
South African farmers used rams from the research station that they conscientiously picked for their authentic genetics. It’s essential to continue to maintain the authenticity of the South Africa Damara sheep as it has become challenging to bring sheep from Namibia to South Africa. Rams with strong genetics have played a vital role in establishing the Damara breed in South Africa and internationally. They have helped to set a high standard for the genetics of the breed. Damara has also gained in popularity for crossbreeding to strengthen other breeds.
If you’re interested in adding Damara sheep to your farm, you’ll need to ensure that you have the right equipment. From feeding equipment to water tanks, you can find a diverse range of useful products like agricultural trailers, feed wagons and much more on AgriMag.