Brae Park Damara
Flock No 0042
​Member of the Damara Sheep Breeders Society of Australia Inc.
www.damaras.com.au/

       Purebred      
 Damara  Sheep
Bred in the High Country of the Great Dividing Range of NSW.

  History of the Damara Sheep

Damaras are a breed of sheep originating from central Africa. The breed were separated from all other sheep breeds for about 2000 years and has never been genetically altered through breeding for particular traits such as white and woolly like almost all other sheep breeds. They are naturally immune to many diseases and parasites, so due to this fact they can survive in very hostile environments where other sheep breeds would perish. They do prefer dry arid conditions best.
The sheep come in all shades of black, brown and white. Often mistaken for goats by lay people from a distance because people are unused to seeing coloured sheep.
Damaras were kept by local tribesmen of what is now Namibia for thousands of years. In fact the name ‘Damara’ comes from Damaraland in that area.
The nomadic tribesmen kept the sheep for meat and their beautifully marked hides. They maintained a totem system for meat consumption matching the common colourings and markings of the Damara sheep hide. This allowed them to naturally ration scarce proteins to a particular totem. E.g.-Only those with totems for solid tan coloured sheep could eat meat from that colour category. The tribesmen have never bred the sheep for any particular colour so you can have a solid black ewe produce white offspring or the other way around.
About the middle of last century some South African farmers recognized the worth of the breed and began the first Damara Sheep flocks in South Africa. All Damara sheep worldwide have pretty much continued from those beginnings
Damaras were first imported to Australia in the late 1990s to Western Australia, only moving to the eastern Australian States in the early 2000s.
Damaras have been bred with many other breeds common in Australia to their detriment. Many of these crossings have been to obtain many of the Damara outstanding characteristics. E.G.; shedding lower fat meat, resistance to diseases and parasites. Nowadays the purebred Damara sheep is a rare breed in Australia due to this continuous cross breeding.
Our Damara Stud is helping to maintain for future generations the small gene pool of purebred Damaras available in Australia as importation of any further genetic material from any sheep breeds has been banned by the Australian Government due to the prevalence of Scrapie Disease in many sheep flocks and breeds worldwide. Australia and New Zealand have the only unaffected sheep, of any breed, in the world. Australia can export but not Import sheep or their genetics.
  
Breed Information
  
Damaras are a coloured hair sheep, only producing wool in the winter months. This wool sheds in the summer and  unlike wool sheep breeds hair is still attached to the wool when it sheds making it appear like ’felt’ rather than wool when it sheds. Lanolin is still contained in the wool and hair, the same as any other sheep. Many of the warmer places in Australia would never have these sheep producing any winter wool coat.
The sheep take about two years to reach adult status. Young lambs have a longer hair coat than adults of the breed. This hair coat being longer, holds more wool than the adults. Young sheep of the breed can be mistaken for cross breeds by the uninitiated until they shed into their adult coat. Adult coat comes in between one and two years of age. On close inspection ‘Baby Coat’ will have hair only at skin level- no wool. The ‘Baby Coat’  has longer hair that can look woollier, more so when winter wool appears in it.
High Fertility is another positive of the breed. Ewes will produce lambs from 12 months (more usual about 18 months) and, once in lambing cycle, can produce three lambings in two years. Twins are produced in larger numbers as the ewe matures.
These sheep have a lifespan up to twice that of other sheep breeds. Still producing lambs at 10+ years & older with still a full mouth of teeth. Predation by foxes is also rare in the breed due to outstanding mothers who will charge a threat and the alertness of the entire herd .
The Damara is a completely non selective grazer and are, for this reason ideal for small acreages. Horses and cattle only eat the good grasses and leave the weeds and over a period of time many small acreages end up with a really ugly weed problem. Damara sheep eat everything equally thereby keeping weeds down.
Damaras have a very strong herd instinct and become very unhappy if removed from the herd situation. They are much happier once in groups of four and more. The herding instinct is far more advanced than other sheep breeds due to natural selection in central Africa- anything that wandered from the herd became dinner for a predator. This herding instinct is an overwhelming advantage over other breeds as you will always find the herd together as a group making mustering much easier. The only time this instinct doesn’t apply is at lambing and if a sheep becomes sick. At these times you’ll find these ones off a few metres from the main herd.
Damaras are immune to many sheep diseases, are parasite resistant and never get flystrike unless they have an untreated open wound. They do not require tail docking like other breeds as they are naturally mulsed with bare pink skin under their tails. In fact another name for Damara sheep is ‘African Fat Tail Sheep’. Damara save fat to their tail rather than their body in good times and use the tail fat when feed is scarce. For this reason Damara meat is less fatty than other sheep meat. 
  1. Lamb Coat
    Lamb Coat
    The lamb above has a curly long "Baby Coat". Texture (coarse or fine hair) and hair length varies from lamb to lamb. In general lambs have longer hair coat than adults and once winter wool starts to grow in the hair they can look very woolly until the shed to their adult coat. This happens between 1 and 2 years of age. Short coarse "Baby Coat" sheds best.
  2. Poddy Lambs
    Poddy Lambs
    Damara Ewes are Great Mothers. We rarely have poddies like the two above. Mothers will protect their lambs from foxes. We rarely loose lambs to foxes and those few lambs lost have been offsping of first time mothers.
  3. Mature Ewe and Young Lamb
    Mature Ewe and Young Lamb
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