Damara Sheep

The Damara sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from Namibia. It was actually from the Eastern Asia and Egypt, but it has moved down to the present day Namibia and Angola.

It was in an isolated region of Namibia for many years and thus remained free of influence from other sheep breeds.

Today the breed is mainly found in the northwestern Namibia (Kaokoland) and southern Angola. In those areas, they were herded relatively free from external influences by the local inhabitants.

The name of the Damara sheep breed was derived from the specific region where these animals were originally encountered, and the name of the region was Ddmaralnd previously.

It is a very old breed and originated as long ago as 3000 BC. The breed was seen by the German explorers in the northern region of Namibia in 1904, and it was then called Gross Damaland.

The Damara Sheep Breeder’s Society was established in 1992. However, read some more information about this sheep breed below.

Damara Sheep Characteristics

The Damara sheep are large animals with relatively long appearance. It is relatively a large breed in terms of shoulder height. They have long, oval and fairly deep body.

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The top-line over the head is arched. It drops down in the neck, rising to the withers from where it declines slightly to rise again over well developed loins.

Legs of the Damara sheep are long and dry, but strong and well-placed. Their hooves are small and well shaped. They are fat-tailed sheep, and grow short coarse hair.

They can be either uni-colored or multi-colored. Uni-colored versions are available in black, brown and white, and multi-colored versions are available in black and white pied.

They usually have smaller sized horns. Photo and info from ansi.okstate.edu and Wikipedia.

Uses

The Damara sheep is a meat sheep breed. It is raised primarily for meat production.

Special Notes

The Damara sheep are very hardy and strong animals. They can survive in a harsh environment and under poor nutritional conditions. They are exceptionally vigorous, and actually can remain productive where grazing and water is fairly restricted.

This feature makes the breed very suitable for the communal areas of Namibia where extreme conditions are usually the norm rather than the exception.

The Damara sheep has a fairly high resistance to most sheep diseases. And they have also good tolerance against internal parasites. The ewes are excellent mothers and they can produce enough milk, even for raising twin lambs.

And twin lambs usually occur in 5 to 10 percent of the births. The ewes generally care well for their lambs, and sometime fight off predators when attacked. Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. However, review full breed profile of the Damara sheep in the following chart.

Breed NameDamara
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMainly meat
Special NotesVery hardy and strong animals, well adapted to a variety of climatic and grazing conditions, well suited to their local environments, able to survive in a harsh environment and under poor nutritional conditions, exceptionally vigorous, can remain productive where grazing and water is fairy restricted, fairy high resistant to most common diseases, tolerant against internal parasites, ewes are excellent mothers, ewes produce enough milk for their lambs, very good for meat production
Breed SizeLarge
HornsYes
Climate ToleranceLocal climates
ColorMany
RarityCommon
Country/Place of OriginNamibia

Damara Sheep Facts

Here are some interesting facts about this sheep breed:

  1. Damara sheep are named after the Damara people who first bred them. The Damara people are a group of pastoralists who live in the northern regions of Namibia.
  2. Damara sheep are one of the oldest and purest breeds of sheep in Africa. They are believed to have originated from the fat-tailed sheep of the Middle East and were brought to southern Africa by the Khoisan people over 2,000 years ago.
  3. The distinctive appearance of Damara sheep is due to their unique fat-tail. The fat-tail is a large deposit of fat that is stored in the tail and is used as a reserve of energy during times of drought or famine.
  4. The fat-tail of Damara sheep can weigh up to 10 kg, and is considered a delicacy in many parts of Africa. It is rich in flavor and is used to make a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, and roasted meats.
  5. Damara sheep are hardy animals that can thrive in a variety of environments, from deserts to savannas. They are known for their ability to survive in harsh conditions, and can go without water for several days.
  6. Damara sheep have a unique ability to regulate their body temperature, which allows them to survive in hot and arid environments. They have a dense coat of hair that insulates them from the heat, and their sweat glands are located in their noses and hooves, which allows them to conserve water.
  7. Damara sheep have a high resistance to diseases and parasites. They are naturally immune to many of the common diseases that affect other breeds of sheep, and are less susceptible to ticks and other parasites.
  8. Damara sheep are highly adaptable animals that can live off a variety of vegetation, including tough desert plants that other animals cannot eat. They are also able to survive on low-quality forage, which makes them ideal for grazing in marginal lands.
  9. Damara sheep are very social animals that live in large flocks. They are able to form strong bonds with their flockmates and are known for their loyalty to their herd.
  10. Damara sheep are excellent mothers and have a high fertility rate. They are able to produce multiple lambs per year, and their lambs are able to stand and nurse within minutes of being born.
  11. Damara sheep have a unique reproductive system that allows them to breed year-round. They are able to cycle through their estrus cycle every 16 to 17 days, which means that they can produce lambs at any time of the year.
  12. Damara sheep are an important source of income for many rural communities in Africa. They are valued for their meat, wool, and milk, and are often used in traditional ceremonies and rituals.
  13. Damara sheep are easy to handle and require minimal human intervention. They are able to graze and survive on their own without the need for supplemental feed or veterinary care.
  14. Damara sheep are highly intelligent animals that have excellent memories. They are able to recognize individual humans and can remember their faces and voices for years.
  15. Damara sheep are known for their curiosity and playful nature. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and are often seen playing with each other or investigating new objects.
  16. Damara sheep are not prone to aggression and are considered to be one of the most docile breeds of sheep. They are able to coexist peacefully with other animals, including livestock and wildlife.
  17. Damara sheep are an important part of the cultural heritage of southern Africa. They are often used in traditional ceremonies and rituals, and are considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
  18. Damara sheep are a rare breed, with only an estimated 250,000 individuals in the world. However, efforts are being made to conserve and promote the breed, as they are seen as an important genetic resource for future generations.
  19. Damara sheep have a unique vocalization system that allows them to communicate with each other over long distances. They use a variety of sounds and calls to convey information about food, water, and potential dangers in the environment.
  20. Damara sheep have a strong sense of hierarchy within their flock. They establish a pecking order based on dominance and aggression, with the most dominant individuals being the first to access food and other resources.
  21. Damara sheep are a fascinating breed of sheep that are known for their hardiness, intelligence, and adaptability. They are an important part of the cultural heritage of southern Africa and are valued for their meat, wool, and milk. As efforts to conserve and promote the breed continue, it is likely that we will continue to learn more about the unique and fascinating characteristics of Damara sheep.

Related Queries & FAQs

There are lots of questions and queries related to Damara sheep. Here we are trying to list the common questions and queries about this sheep breed and trying to answer them. Hope you will find answers of your questions or queries. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

What is a Damara sheep?

A Damara sheep is a breed of sheep that is native to southern Africa. They are known for their distinctive appearance and ability to thrive in harsh desert environments.

What does a Damara sheep look like?

Damara sheep have a unique fat-tail and a dense coat of hair that insulates them from heat. They are generally brown or white in color.

What is the purpose of a Damara sheep’s fat-tail?

The fat-tail of Damara sheep is used as a reserve of energy during times of drought or famine. It is also considered a delicacy in many parts of Africa.

What is the average lifespan of a Damara sheep?

The average lifespan of a Damara sheep is around 8 to 12 years.

What is the average weight of a Damara sheep?

The average weight of a Damara sheep is around 60 to 70 kg for males and 45 to 55 kg for females.

What is the diet of a Damara sheep?

Damara sheep are highly adaptable animals that can live off a variety of vegetation, including tough desert plants that other animals cannot eat. They are also able to survive on low-quality forage.

What is the wool of a Damara sheep used for?

The wool of Damara sheep is used to make carpets, rugs, and other woven products. It is also valued for its insulating properties.

What is the meat of a Damara sheep like?

The meat of Damara sheep is lean and has a unique flavor that is often described as gamey.

Are Damara sheep endangered?

Damara sheep are considered a rare breed, with only an estimated 250,000 individuals in the world. However, efforts are being made to conserve and promote the breed.

How many lambs can a Damara sheep have?

Damara sheep are able to produce multiple lambs per year, with an average litter size of 1 to 2 lambs.

What is the temperament of a Damara sheep?

Damara sheep are known for their docile and friendly temperament, and are not prone to aggression.

What is the gestation period of a Damara sheep?

The gestation period of a Damara sheep is around 5 months.

How often do Damara sheep need to be sheared?

Damara sheep have a natural shedding cycle, and typically do not need to be sheared unless they are being raised for their wool.

What is the market value of a Damara sheep?

The market value of a Damara sheep varies depending on location and demand, but they are generally valued for their meat, wool, and milk.

Can Damara sheep survive in cold climates?

Damara sheep are adapted to survive in hot and arid environments, and may not be well-suited for extremely cold climates.

How do you care for a Damara sheep?

Damara sheep are hardy animals that require minimal human intervention. They need access to food and water, and may benefit from regular veterinary checkups.

How do Damara sheep defend themselves from predators?

Damara sheep are able to form strong bonds with their flockmates and are able to defend themselves from predators through their numbers.

How do Damara sheep communicate with each other?

Damara sheep have a unique vocalization system that allows them to communicate with each other over long distances.

Can Damara sheep be raised for milk production?

Damara sheep can be raised for milk production, but their milk yield is generally lower than other dairy breeds.

What are some common health issues that affect Damara sheep?

Like all animals, Damara sheep are susceptible to a variety of health issues, including parasites, respiratory infections, and foot rot. Proper management and veterinary care can help prevent and treat these issues.

How can I get involved in conserving the Damara sheep breed?

There are several organizations dedicated to conserving and promoting the Damara sheep breed, such as the Damara Sheep Breeders Society of South Africa and the Damara Sheep Breeders Association of Namibia. You can also support conservation efforts by purchasing products made from Damara wool or meat from sustainable sources.

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