Loyd and Juanita Daniels produce registered White Dorpers

Transitioning into the sheep business for livestock producers is not uncommon.

The transition for Loyd and Juanita Daniels of Clover Leaf Farm in El Paso, Ark., was different, one from Border Collies to sheep.

“We raised Border Collies for several years,” Juanita explained. “But we came to a point where we decided we needed to have a hobby that generated some income. After a lot of research, we settled on White Dorper sheep.”

The Daniels have not regretted that decision.

“They were a meat sheep and easier to raise,” Juanita added. “We had started off with Barbados and then we went to a wool/hair cross. We actually got them to train our Border Collies.”

The Dorper sheep breed was developed in South Africa in the 1930s by the South African Department of Agriculture. The breed was a result of crossing a horned Dorset with Blackheaded Persian sheep. Two varieties of Dorpers were created: the black-headed Dorper and the White Dorper.

Juanita said they opted for the White Dorpers because of their sale value. She added that she also discovered that the white sheep had a much better temperament.

The Clover Leaf herd currently runs  on about 60 head of White Dorpers on 50 acres. The sheep flock has the majority of the farm, but there are 14 acres of wooded land that the couple uses as a wildlife conservation area.

Clover Leaf farm utilizes a rotational grazing system for their flock and are enrolled in the Natural Resource Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

“We have seven paddocks right now and we are going to divide those up to 12 paddocks,” Juanita said. “In the summer, after we wean, most of the animals are in one flock, except our ewe lambs and rams.”

For the most recent lamb crop, Jaunita said they introduced rams in August 2017, and began lambing on Jan. 13.

She said they exposed ewes in groups of 10, which allowed her to lamb in manageable groups.

While Dorper ewes can breed at 4 to 6 months of age, the Daniels prefer to allow their ewes to mature a little longer.

“We want them to be a year to a year and a half old,” Juanita said.

Lambs are weaned at about 3 to 4 months of age, and the health of the ewes is monitored closely while they are nursing.

Lactating ewes are fed a commercial 16-percent ration daily, and lambs are offered a creep feed.

“Most of the time, they are on grass, but that commercial ration helps the ewes stay in good condition and helps the lambs grow,” Juanita explained. “In the summer months, our adult ewes are totally on pasture.”

The Daniels monitor parasites through the FAMACHA method, which is monitoring animals for parasite infection by checking the color of the inner eyelids and comparing it to a defined color chart.

“With the pasture rotation and really monitoring them every two weeks, we don’t seem to have any problems,” Juanita said.

Sheep are marketed twice yearly at registered sales in Oklahoma and eastern Tennessee. The registered sales means a huge difference in income for the farm.

“If you marketed the sheep at local auctions, you might get $150 per head,” Juanita said. “In the registered sales, you can expect $500 per head. Naturally, we stick with the registered sales.”

The couple will retain some of their lambs for their own breeding program, based on the needs of their own breeding program.

In the future, Juanita said they hope to expand their flock and be come more aggressive in pasture management and their rotational grazing system.

http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Daniels-1024x576.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Daniels-150x150.jpgLarry BurchfieldArkansas NeighborsNeighborsArkansas,Daniels,El Paso,Juanita Daniels,Loyd Daniels,sheep,White DorpersLoyd and Juanita Daniels produce registered White Dorpers Transitioning into the sheep business for livestock producers is not uncommon. The transition for Loyd and Juanita Daniels of Clover Leaf Farm in El Paso, Ark., was different, one from Border Collies to sheep. “We raised Border Collies for several years,” Juanita explained. “But...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma