CLEANSKIN SHEEP BREED DESCRIPTIONS
There are a number of different cleanskin sheep breeds both nationally and internationally. The following information provides a brief description on the development of some of the cleanskin breeds.
Origin: The Wiltidam was first released
at the Morawa Farm Improvement / Bundaleer Sheep cleanskin sheep field day
in 2007, and are developed from a complex crossing of three cleanskin breeds
- Damara, Wiltipoll and Van Rooy.
Description: Polled. Large-framed, heavy boned with medium to long legs and sound feet to carry them long distances. Fat-tailed hardy sheep, soft skin (mainly white), long soft ears, ewes with feminine heads and rams with Roman noses and strong bull necks.
Attributes: Developed to cover the need for an all purpose, versatile, productive ewe to consistently produce maximum net return per hectare over most of Australia, and to be the maternal breed of choice for sheep producers. Requires minimal inputs, and produces large numbers of quality lambs per hectare, suitable for domestic or live export.
More information: visit www.bundaleersheep.com or view animals on display at the 2011 CSA Symposium.
Origin: The Damara first originated in East Asia and Egypt circa 3000BC and were introduced to Australia from South Africa in 1996.
Description: A fat tail sheep with varying colours, either solid colour or patchy. Has the ability to store fat in its tail and uses it as a backup energy source during dry periods.
Attributes: Damara sheep tolerate heat well and are able to walk long distances, making use of feed away from watering points. They have been performing successfully in wheatbelt regions and pastoral areas of Australia. Damaras can be adapted to existing farming infrastructures and provide an excellent commercial opportunity to increase meat production and live export into alternative world markets.
More information: Damara Sheep Breeders Society of Australia www.damaras.com.au
Origin: Developed in Western Australia by crossing Dorper and Damara breeds which originated from South Africa.
Description: The Damper is predominantly black and white, horned or polled, and has a significant live export history for both meat and breeding stock.
Attributes: The breed seeks to combine the best traits of both the Dorper and Damara to develop a utility sheep with the ability to produce in a tough environment and have a good carcass to meet domestic specifications. The Damper is a highly efficient grazier with fast growth rates. Like all cleanskin sheep it sheds its fleece so does not require shearing and is not susceptible to fly strike.
Origin: The Dorper was developed in South Africa in the 1930's by crossing Blackhead Persian ewes with a Dorset Horn ram. They were bred to produce a high quality carcass under extensive conditions. The Blackhead Persian was selected for its non-selective grazing, coat shedding, hardiness and good mothering abilities. The Dorset Horn was selected for its rapid growth rates and carcass attributes.
Description: White sheep with short, dullish black hair predominately in the neck and head area.
Attributes: The Dorper is a fast growing meat producing sheep known for its ability to adapt and survive in a variety of climatic and grazing conditions. Low maintenance and easy care breed with good muscling and low fat scores.
Origin: Developed in South Australia from a White Dorper and Damara hybrid with an influence from a small content of other shedding breeds including the Wiltshire Horn.
Description: Feature animals are a significant red colour similar to Droughtmaster cattle, however colouring can be red and white, pale red or dark red.
Attributes: The breed has been selected from 1997 to meet prime lamb specifications in a range of environments including arid lands.
Origin: Developed simultaneously in several places in the world. In Australia the Meatmaster is mainly White Dorper and Damara combined with other shedding breed mixes.
Description: Mainly polled. Colour is quite varied and includes white, brown and black.
Attributes: Primarily a good utility breed for prime lamb production in the pastoral zone. The breed is also making inroads into the cropping and better grazing zones of several states.
More information: Meatmaster Sheep South Africa www.meatmastersa.co.za
Origin: Mini sheep result from a miniature gene (not dwarfism) discovered in a South African breed imported in 2005 which were mated to a White Dorper hybrid ram. The resultant progeny were half-size sheep.
Description: Polled, colouring varies.
Attributes: Minis are easy to handle (ideal for hobby farmers and sheep enthusiasts), low maintenance, and produce the same amount of meat per hectare as other prime lamb breeds. The White Dorper influence has given a good muscling on a small sheep that can produce lamb carcasses of 18kg in approximately 5 months.
Origin: The Persian breed including Black Head, Red Head and the various speckled colour types originate from Samalia. The Persian breed has been treated as an indigenous breed in South Africa for many generations.
Description: A small desert sheep, the Persian stores fat in its rump to aid breed and survival through long dry periods. Polled, varies in colour including black, red and white, and also speckled colour types.
Attributes: The Persian x Dorper hybrids can produce a trade weight prime lamb in the most adverse conditions and is currently not utilized in Australia. The fat in the rump is often used in Africa for blending with small goods made with extremely lean game meats.
Origin: The Van Rooy was developed in South Africa with the use of a white "Blinkhaar Afrikaner" ram and eighty Rambouillet ewes. Van Rooys have been in Australia since the late 1990's.
Description: White in colour. Fat tail.
Attributes: Utilized in Australia mainly for crossbreeding and in the development of other cleanskin breeds.
Origin: The White Dorper was developed in South Africa in the 1930's by crossing Blackhead Persian ewes with a Dorset Horn ram. They were bred to produce a high quality carcass under extensive conditions. The Blackhead Persian was selected for its non-selective grazing, coat shedding, hardiness and good mothering abilities. The Dorset Horn was selected for its rapid growth rates and carcass attributes.
Description: White sheep with short, dullish white coloured hair.
Attributes: The White Dorper is a fast growing meat producing sheep known for its ability to adapt and survive in a variety of climatic and grazing conditions. Low maintenance and easy care breed with good muscling and low fat scores.
Origin: Developed in Australia to produce heavy prime lamb without the costs of wool. The Australian Wiltipoll Association was formed in 1996 - there are now more than 190 Wiltipoll members/breeders over six states.
Description: White, polled sheep that is bred for the production of prime lamb only. Has a short white fleece which is shed annually during spring and summer. Wool loss depends on date of birth, warmth of simmer, nutrition and genetic factors.
Attributes: The Wiltipoll is an easy care, heavy prime lamb breed with little fat. Rams breed all year round and can be crossed with other sheep breeds to produce prime lambs. Ewes come into season in autumn and lamb in spring with high percentages of multiple births.
More Information: Australian Wiltipoll Association Inc www.wiltipoll.com
Origin: The Wiltshire Horn may be descended from the breed brought to Britain by the Romans as the original British meat sheep.
Description: Quick maturing, large framed animal, white in colour, horned.
Attributes: Wiltshire Horns have the ability to thrive on scant herbage and cover large distances during the day. The Wiltshire Horn is suitable for fat lamb production and has the added advantages of no shearing or crutching.
More information: Australian Wiltshire Horn Sheepbreeders Association - www.wiltshirehorn.asn.au