Rainbow Meadow Farms
31065 Lloyd Harrison Rd.
Snow Hill, NC 28580

(252) 523-0298
(252) 747-5000

A rich heritage and modern farming methods meet at Rainbow Meadow Farms.  Quality Dorpers for progressive shepherds - we offer unbeatable performance!


Dorpers Are a Quality Single-Purpose Breed

Blackhead Dorper Cross Ewes Jan 2000
Note muscling on the yearling ewes!
  • Single Purpose: MEAT - No Shearing!
  • Early Maturing
  • Extended Breeding Season (3 lamb crops/2 years)
  • Fast Growing
  • Excellent Mothers
  • Superb Carcass Qualities
  • Superior Meat - Extremely Tender and Mild
  • Parasite Tolerance

The Dorper breed was developed for the arid regions of South Africa but has proven that it is adaptable to many conditions throughout the world. The rams are known to be early maturing and can breed as early as 100 days.

Dorpers are known to have an extended breeding season, so three lamb crops in two years is possible. They have a high fecundity and multiple births are the norm. In South Africa, under extensive conditions, Dorpers are consistently producing 150-180% lamb crop. On our farm, where there is a much better quality of grazing, we are getting 200% lamb crop after the first lambing.

The ewes have great udders and are good milkers. Dorpers are known for their calm disposition. They show exceptional adaptability, hardiness, reproductive rates and growth (being able to reach approximately 80 lbs in 4 months ), as well as good mothering abilities.

They are moderate framed and of good body length with a short light covering of hair and wool that sheds during the spring and summer months. South Africans select the hair/wool mix in the middle of the body of the sheep. They say that the animal will shed better than either an all hair or mostly wool Dorper.

Dorpers are well proportioned with excellent conformation. The best asset of the Dorper is in the hind quarters where the most expensive meat is produced. They produce superb lamb carcasses with around 90% of Dorper lambs having carcass qualities that are usually graded Choice. The meat is lean and very mild in flavor. Dorper carcasses usually win in the South African carcass competitions. Mature Dorper ewes average 180-210 lbs and mature rams average from 225 lbs up. I have personally seen two that were over 350 lbs.


Dorpers Are Easy Keepers

Dorpers are known to be non-selective grazers and thrive in marginal conditions. They are easy keepers and do well in a variety of climates.

Dorpers are being raised successfully from Canada to Central and South America, from wet climates to arid climates. The breed is hardy and the lambs are vigorous at birth. They are moderate framed and seem to work well in minimal input systems.

On our farms, we have found that the Dorpers really thrive on just grass. I have had times where I was feeding grain to my Dorpers and I have also at times had them grazing just Matua bromegrass or ryegrass, rye and oats mixture. The Dorpers maintained and actually gained body condition better on the grass than they did under a grain diet.


History of Dorpers

Dorpers are a synthetic mutton breed that were developed in South Africa in the 1930's from the Dorset Horn and the Blackhead Persian. The South African Department of Agriculture and a group of farmers decided to develop a new sheep breed able to produce a maximum number of lambs with good mutton qualities which could be marketed off arid and extensive grazing conditions. Most of the lambs came out black and white and the Dorper breed was selected from those that had the black heads and white bodies and a more muscular body type.

Atlas, our White Dorper stud ram

A few of the lambs came out as all white. They formed the basis of the White Dorper breed. From that group of white lambs there was then an infusion of Van Rooy genetics, which is a fat-tailed breed, very similar to the Black Head Persian except for the lack of a black head. The difference in color is just a matter of choice. In South Africa, about 85% of all Dorpers are black-headed.

Today, Dorpers are the second most popular breed of sheep in South Africa. Of the approximately 30 million sheep in South Africa, about one third are Dorper or Dorper crosses.


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