Dorpers: The Great Survivors
Farmer's Weekly|December 04, 2020
According to Northern Cape sheep breeders Hennie and Hercules Erasmus, the Dorper was bred to thrive on harsh veld. Putting these animals under feedlot conditions ‘waters down’ their hardiness, they explained.

22YEARS AGO

“It will take hard work, and careful selection of sheep reared under harsh veld conditions, to get back to the ideal Dorper,” says Hennie.

Hennie and his father Hercules run a 3 000-head flock on the farm Elim in Douglas. While they are not all stud animals, they are all of high quality. Hercules has taken great care to keep the breeding lines separate and pure, and the stud flock nucleus consists of only the best breeding material.

The flock was started by Hennie’s maternal grandfather Hennie de Smidt, who was one of the creators of the Dorper breed. The breed was Horn (dor-) and Persian (-per) sheep.

De Smidt died in 1981, and Hercules took over the running of the flock after only working with his father-in-law for a year.

De Smidt was very firm about not cosseting the sheep.

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