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We farm in the Karoo on the farm Elandsnek between Hopetown and Strydenburg. In 1993 we started to experiment with Dorper-Damara crosses. Since 1995 we started to select for a specific Meatmaster. We started our Meatmaster herd by combining the best White Dorper ewes and Damara rams we could get hold of. It didn’t take long for us to replace the sheep we farmed with at that stage with the Dorper-Damara crosses.
Our selection policy is very strict; we only keep the best ewe and ram lambs to breed with or to sell to fellow breeders. Only about 5% of the ram lambs normally are good enough to pass as replacement or sales rams. Those that do not meet the standard will be slaughtered at our local abattoir. Our extensive farming practice mainly guides us when we select our sheep. Except for structural soundness, fertility and adaptability it is our priority to farm with a middle of the road type that can move well because they have to cover large distances for food and water. Although any color is acceptable according to the breed standards, we do prefer red, brown and chocolate, these colors camouflage well, and it is important to take into consideration as predators are one of our main problems with our extensive farming practices.
Our Meatmasters are divided into mobs of about 150-200 and we mainly do multiple siring, except for a select group that we do single matings that we keep record of. Due to our extensive farm practice it is difficult to keep record of our entire herd. Most of our Meatmasters are of a high standard and we often breed excellent lambs out of the other groups that we do not keep record of.
Under normal circumstances our sheep will only receive a salt lick. During times of drought we will supplement their diet with a balanced protein lick, especially the ewes with lambs. We normally drench our sheep once a year; in extreme circumstances we will drench them twice. When necessary we will give them a vitamin and mineral supplement. They are only vaccinated against pulpy kidney.
The combination of Damara characteristics such as fertility, adaptability, herd instinct, motherly instinct, excellent coat covering, et. and those of the Dorper such as carcass quality, excellent growth and milk production is the reason why the Meatmaster is such an exceptional breed to farm with. We are really privileged to be able to farm with this extraordinary breed.
A large portion of our revenue is generated from slaughter lambs. It is important for us to produce lambs with good grading that are acceptable for the abattoirs as well as consumers. The Meatmaster does not disappoint us at all. Below is a chart that shows the grading of our slaughter lambs for 2013 These lambs were raised under extensive conditions, received only a salt lick and were slaughtered directly from the veldt.
Their average weight was 17.1 kg