Dr. Renato Songco of Guagua, Pampanga, is a dentist who gave up the practice of his profession to devote his time to livestock farming, particularly sheep. At the time of our interview in October 2011 during the Agrilink trade show, he said that he used to raise goats but after observing that sheep are easier to take care, he decided to specialize in sheep for his own good reasons.
There are several breeds of sheep but he prefers the Dorper. An important characteristic that he likes in Dorper is that the animals are fast growing, and they have a broad body conformation.
There are two types of Dorper sheep. One is pure white while the other has black haircoat in the entire head and part of the neck. The color of the head is the only difference. They have similar characteristics. They are easy to manage because they are docile and are said to be less susceptible to animal diseases than goats. Only, they have to be dewormed every six months or so.
At the time of our interview, Dr. Songco had about a hundred Dorpers. He had wanted to increase his flock as soon as possible to meet the demand for sheep for meat and for breeding. At that time he was looking for female upgraded sheep to buy even of other breeds so hat he can use them for increasing his flock. He would like to use his purebred Dorper to sire the females of other breeds.
At that time he was crossing Dorper with the St. Croix. This is also a white breed that is not as fast-growing as the Dorper. However, he would like to infuse some of the good traits of St. Croix to the offspring. He explained that St. Croix has very good mothering ability.
Dr. Song quipped that there is more money in sheep raising than in dental practice. He was determined to increase his flock because he had just acquired at that time 30 hectares of fishpond. He intended to plant forage grass on the fishpond dikes which he would use for pasturing his animals.