Modeling and comparison of the maturing rates of Damara, Dorper and Swakara sheep at Neudamm Farm
Although sheep play an important role in the Namibian livestock industry, there is a paucity of information on their production performance. The objective of the study was to compare the mature weights, and maturing rates for Damara, Dorper and Swakara sheep reared at Neudamm Farm. Four hundred and eight (408) sheep (84 Swakara, 296 Damara and 28 Dorper) were weighed monthly for 6 months. The Brody, Van Bertalanffy, Gompertz and logistic growth models were fitted to the data to determine the mature size and maturing rate. Based on the R2 and the BIC, the Brody growth function gave the best fit. The estimated mature weights for Damara, Dorper and Swakara sheep were 46.8±1.1 kg, 53.9±1.0 kg and 48.8±1.1 kg, respectively, with the corresponding maturing rates of 0.0037±0.0001, 0.0025±0.0003 and 0.0021±0.0001 kg/day. Although the Damara sheep have a smaller size compared to Dorper sheep, they mature faster, making them a better breed for mutton production. The Dorper had the largest mature sizes, although their rate of maturation was lower than the Damara sheep.