Dorper herd a fun sideline for local lad

Carson Palmer's ewes come running as the 12-year-old carries a pail of oats. Palmer owns and cares for a herd of 26 ewes and their offspring on the family farm east of Davidson.

Carson Palmer’s ewes come running as the 12-year-old carries a pail of oats. Palmer owns and cares for a herd of 26 ewes and their offspring on the family farm east of Davidson.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — It’s a sunny spring day as Carson Palmer heads out to do his afternoon chores.

Tending a herd of 26 ewes and their lambs keeps the 12-year-old boy busy.

He’s often the first one up in the morning, and he’s back out there after he comes home from school.

Lambing is weeks away, and warm weather will be a welcome sight as the ewes in Carson’s herd begin delivering their offspring.

“It’s going to be a busy April and May around here,” says his father Dean.

Carson is the oldest child of Dean and Tracey Palmer, who live east of Davidson in the RM of Arm River.

Their family operation is largely built around livestock, including around 300 head of cattle, plus about 1,000 acres of cropland.

But the growing herd, made up of Dorper and Dorper-cross ewes, is Carson’s business.

“They’re entirely Carson’s enterprise,” says Dean, who clearly approves.

“It’s pretty unique . . . He can get out of the house and have some responsibility. He’s doing quite well.”

The Dorper breed was developed in South Africa in the late 1940s, according to the website of the Canadian Dorper Sheep Association.

Today, the Dorper breed is the second largest breed there with over 10 million head, representing more than 1/3 of the total sheep population in South Africa.

The breed has also seen increasing popularity around the world, including in Canada and the U.S.

Dorpers typically have white bodies and black heads, and their usual lifespan is about nine or 10 years.

They are recognized as a profitable breed given their early maturation and the strong demand for lambs.

As well, Dorpers shed their wool each summer, which reduces the work and expense required for their care.

For the full story, please see the April 10 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

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