What to do with 23 acres of grassland unsuitable for anything but grazing animals? You can mow for several years – which we did. But one day, motivated to reduce our “carbon footprint”, we decided to let nature take her course.  Unfortunately, within weeks, our beautiful meadows were overrun by a jungle of invasive, non-native flora, e.g. Himalayan Blackberry, Scotch Thistle, Yellow Flag Iris, Norway Maple saplings, Lombardy Poplar saplings and even Tansy Ragwort, which is toxic to other herbivores. NOT what we anticipated!
Appalled at the degradation, we decided to try grazing a few sheep. Sheep are small enough to be easily managed and would fertilize the soil as they grazed. With proper management, the native vegetation on our property could be “mowed” at the same time, without damage. Voila! We went on craigslist and bought some sheep.
We were innocents: a sheep was a sheep was a sheep, eh? Wrong! The variations in behavior between the dozens of breeds of sheep is amazing. Some breeds turn their noses up at weeds – they want cultivated, grass pasture, good hay and grain. Others are “indiscriminate grazers” (what we needed). Those sheep eat whatever is available. There are breeds that constantly patrol the fence line, convinced that the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” It didn’t take us long to discover many other differentiating breed traits as well: Disposition, lamb vigor, mothering temperament and “flocking” tendencies, to name a few.
After working with several different breeds (trial and error), we found one breed that was gentle enough on our aged bodies and that fit our circumstances: DORPERS. We found that Dorper ewes are calm, deliver vigorous lambs (usually twins) and are great mothers. But best of all, they were the chow-down champs in our uncontrolled weed-lot. Within a few months, our Dorpers cleared meadows and woods of the most invasive, noxious plants – including Tansy Ragwort, Himalayan Blackberries and Canadian Thistle!!

That is how Brandwein Dorper became a working sheep farm 15 minutes from downtown Portland, Oregon.

Shepherdess at Brandwein Dorper
9801 NE 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211
805-256-5599 (text or voice)
503-384-2283 (no text)
Only 15 minutes from downtown Portland and 10 minutes from downtown Vancouver, WA!


  1. Shepherdess says:

    Sent you email 🙂

  2. Shepherdess says:

    So sorry for not responding.  I’m getting very slow and lazy in my old age (81) LOL!
    Unfortunately, because of coyote predation, all the sheep went to my daughter’s 40 acre farm Idaho farm in March 2021.
    You sound like a great neighbor and I love your Brandywine/Shire/Tolkien low-key obsession!
    Because of the coyotes, the sheep weren’t allowed in the back pasture for quite some time.  Also, that property now belongs to the City.
    The reason you didn’t see much on the website is because I tweaked it and managed to delete all the photos!  I am a DIY website builder who know nothing about building a website.
    Please don’t think I’m anti-social, but I don’t often have the energy to meet new people.  If I had more energy, I’d invite you over in a heartbeat.
    Did you have your baby?  Hope all is well.  I’m sure your party was just fine without “Dolli Llama” showing up.

  3. Shepherdess says:

    Hi Olivia,
    Sorry for the very late response. Currently my daughter sends the hides to someone for finishing with hair/wool intact. is this what you do? Or do you remove the hair/wool down to the skin?

  4. Olivia says:

    Your space looks absolutely beautiful and I would love to come see it some day. My name is Olivia and I am located in Portland- I’ve been learning to tan hides the past few months, and seeking new sources of unprocessed sheep hides. I am reaching out to inquire whether you have unprocessed hides for sale/trade/free? I love the process of tanning but do not yet have a reliable source of hides. If this something you would ever be open to, pleases do not hesitate to reach out!

  5. Naomi Wichman says:

    Hi neighbors! We recently bought a home on Meadow Drive, and our back yard overlooks part of your lovely tall grass meadow. I’ve only seen the sheep twice, and the llama once. And I’m obsessed with them, and I love them. The reason I’m writing today is to get some info on their summertime grazing schedule…Specifically beca=use we’re having a small get together on August 7th (It’s actually my baby shower, and we’re all vaccinated) and I’m wondering if there’s any way I can request to have the sheep and/or llama in the field by our house on that day? I would also be happy to make a donation to the farm for this request, if that’s even something y’all do? I know its way outta left field, but you never know until you ask! I am so proud to live right next door to a sheep farm called Brandwein, because I’m also low key obsessed with Tolkien, and I told people when we moved in that I live in the shire now, and the Brandywine river borders the Shire…It’s very special and I’m glad to be your neighbor. I would also love to come meet the animals someday if you allow visitors to the farm! I didn’t see much on the website, so I’m not sure if you’re open to the public ever, but if so, I’d love to meet y’all. Thank you so much, I hope to hear from you soon. Have a great day!

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