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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Van Rooy Sheep

Breeds of Livestock - Van Rooy Sheep

Van Rooy

vanrooy-2.jpgAlso Known By: Van Rooy-Persie (Afrik.), Van Rooy White Persian, White Persian

In 1906 Senator J. C. van Rooy, in the Bethulie district of South Africa started his experiments to propagate a breed of sheep for slaughter lamb production: The requirements he set for this breed, were threefold:

1. The breed had to be strong and hardy to cope with regular droughts.

2. It had to be fertile in order to maintain a high percentage of production.

3. It had to have an excellent conformation.

With these aims in mind he made use of a white "Blinkhaar Afrikaner" ram and eighty Rambouillet ewes. With the progeny of these the principle of inbreeding, coupled with severe selection, was applied. This selection mainly aimed at size conformation and white sheep with enough wool in between the bristly hair to serve as protection against cold.

Senator van Rooy realized that he could not dispose of fat localization without sacrificing hardiness and fertility. Then an attempt was made to get good conformation with a little fat localization on the body as possible and only a reasonable accumulation on the rump.

These sheep very soon acclimatized in the Southern and South Western Free State, and the north-eastern districts of the Cape Province, and farmers started making use of Van Rooy rams more and more.

vanrooy-1.jpgThe popularity of the breed is again on the ascent in South Africa during recent years; especially since accentuated demand is the recent successes achieved by the Van Rooy Sheep Breeders with regard to carcass conformation.

The present day Van Rooy sheep is still run mostly in the arid areas where survival and reproduction on natural grazing are essential for the economic production of meat.

As well as grazing with the pure Van Rooy some farmers also take advantage of the hardiness of the Van Rooy ewe to crossbreed with Dorper, White Dorper Dohne Merino and others to produce a heavier slaughter lamb.
The milking ability of the Van Rooy ewe coupled with her ability to utilise natural grazing in adverse conditions allow maximum production in the dryer areas.


    Denis Russell, GENELINK, PO Box 40, Parilla South Australia 5303, ph 08 85766080, fax 08 85766165

    Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.


    Denis Russell, GENELINK, PO Box 40, Parilla South Australia 5303, ph 08 85766080, fax 08 85766165


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added February 27, 2002


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