News and knowhow for farmers

Machakos breeder improves genetics of local dorper sheep with SA imports

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By George Munene

Bernard Wagitu, the founder of Amagoh Dorpers, hopes to elevate dorper farming across East Africa by providing the best dorper genetics that will serve to enhance both the growth levels and carcass quality of sheep for farmers in the region at an affordable price. 

“Since getting sheep with better genetics from South Africa in 2016 we have been complemented by the marked improvements in the texture and taste of our mutton from our customers. We have also used the imported flock to improve the local dorper variety,” Wagitu says. This is expressed in faster growth rates of their progeny and their ability to gather weight much quicker than the local sheep.       

The dorper is the most in-demand sheep amongst Kenyan farmers thanks to its being adaptable to tough climatic conditions, disease resistance, its fast maturity and ability to gather weight quickly which all mean speedy and easier returns for farmers— a mature ram can weigh between 80kg and 114 kg with the ewes weighing 57kg to 80 kg.

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What sets Amagoh apart is Wagitu’s constant improvement of his stud. This he has done by importing South African dorper sheep. SA being the original home of the breed the country has been able to rear a more superior version of dorper to the one that is locally available. This has elevated the quality of his flock setting him apart from the rest of the competition.

Having started with just five sheep in 2010 the farm now houses 450 ewes. Amagoh Dorpers Stud is based in Machakos County and is registered under the Dorper Sheep Breeders Society of Kenya Breeding Sires as well as shaving their Breeding ewes and rams registered with the Kenya Stud Book.

For beginner farmers, Bernard recommends that they start out with one ram and 10 ewes, this he says will give them a manageable learning curve. For such farmers he advices a starter stock of local and SA dorper crosses. Such rams cost Sh25000 while ewes cost Sh15000. Farmers with rearing experience can purchase progenies of pure South African dopers which cost Sh70,000 for a ram that is below a year old and 100,000 for one that is older than a year.  

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Dorper sheep have a good mothering ability and exhibit a long breeding season. They have good adaptability and are non-selective grazers- making maximum use of available pastures. “When breeding ewes are well managed through proper feeding, disease and parasite control, they will bear twinning from the third lambing. They should be properly flushed- fed well be-fore mating to increase the chances of twinning,” observes Cleopas Wahome, a livestock production officer with Naivasha Sheep and Goat Station, a government farm.

Amagoh Dorpers: +(254)732 849 400

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