Our first lamb – Katahdin Dorper Cross

Haven’t written a post in what seems like forever, I broke my leg and sitting at the desk is hard! But I’m back on my feet and with a beautiful surprise taBoot! This is what I woke up to this morning. Our first lamb, a Katahdin-Dorper cross…
dorper lamb

Our ewes are “hair sheep” that means (among other things) they do not need to be sheared. I hate sewing and knitting and all things in “that” department. (much to my lovely quilting mother’s dismay!) I watched my mother deal with wool, pulling and pulling the hair, cleaning it, bleh. Yes, hair sheep are for me. The mother, Mattie Belle is a Katahdin breed. Our one and only ram is a Dorper.

The Katahdin breed is an easy to care for, meat type sheep, naturally tolerant of climatic extremes and capable of high performance in a wide variety of environments. The purpose of the breed is to efficiently produce meat.

The Dorper is highly adaptable and does well in harsh conditions. Dorpers are excellent converters of a wide range of forage types and they excel in grazing or weed control. They are highly fertile and have no breeding “season” so they can produce up to three births in two years. I read this on the official registry for Dorper Sheep in the United States…

Because of their Blackhead Persian origin, Dorpers have natural tolerance to high temperatures and heavy insect populations. They are productive in areas where other breeds barely survive.

That bit sold me when I was concerned about the quality of food our bit of land naturally produced. The perfect breed for our land. Look at this site if you’d like to know more about hair sheep.

dorper ram lamb

The Ready Store
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson

6 thoughts on “Our first lamb – Katahdin Dorper Cross”

    • Rhonda,
      The first question to ask is, “what purpose will sheep serve for our family?” If you answered meat, then these are most excellent meat animals. If you answered wool, then these are not good choices. These are what are called “hair sheep” meaning that they lose their “hair” each season. Their “wool” is worthless. The Katahdin originated in Maine and is quite cold-hardy. They are resilient and easy to manage. I have enjoyed this breed very much, their meat is delicious and they make caring mothers. Hope that helps!

  1. I love my Katahdin lambs, but I am now in a region of the US that is driven by the Dorper breed. Just wondering if that is a good mix for a very small homestead, providing meat for myself. It’s getting harder and harder to stay with strictly Katahdins.

    • Sandy, we started out with the Dorper/Katahdin cross with great success. We had to switch rams about three years ago and found a gorgeous fellow we call Attila. He was a good price for a six month old and he was already looking like a winner, big and “beefy”. So we honestly just lucked into him. He’s been a good one and throws big babies.(what I mean is, his offspring are good sized, males and females) When I had the crosses I had no complaints. I think that the Dorper/Katahdin cross is popular because the breeds are so similar. We get a good weight and their feed to meat ratio is almost the same. So yes, I think that it is a super cross and a good choice for a small homestead. 🙂 I wish you every success!


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