Olde English Babydoll Southdowns are commonly called Babydoll Southdowns or Babydolls for short. Babydoll Southdowns are the Heritage of AUSTRALIAN Standard Southdown Sheep.
These wonderful sheep make great pets for the hobby farm, & a nice addition for a fibre farm. They have a docile temperament and are very personable. Babydolls weigh 75 to 120 pounds; rams a bit more. The breed standard is between 18 and 24 inches at the shoulder. They lamb on their own and quite often have twins.
Their Heritage......Southdown sheep were originally a short and stocky sheep raised primarily for their meat in their native homeland, the South Down Hills of England. Standard Southdowns are still considered just a meat breed. Babydoll Southdowns are now raised as a dual purpose breed.....meat & wool....add pet to that and they can be considered at triple purpose sheep!!..........
Babydolls do have a short fleece, 2 to 4 inches and it might not be the first sheep you'd think of for wool production but they produce a fine to medium weight wool. The wool has become know among spinners in the last few years as very soft, spongy and lofty and blends wonderfully with other fibers such as llama and alpaca.
With the world looking at all enviromental ways of farming, baby dolls are coming in to vogue for the vineyards and orchards, one successful NZ vineyard have been importing Baby doll sheep now for a couple of years to NZ, and they have won awards for this
Uses for the Babydoll Southdown:
Olde English Babydoll Southdowns are outstanding pets who produce wool that is a hand spinner’s delight. They provide organic weeding and make excellent companion animals and are also a sound investment opportunity.
These little Babydoll sheep make excellent companions for the young, elderly, and disabled. Their gentle nature makes them a joy to own, and their diminutive size makes them an excellent choice for 4-H projects.
Babydoll fleece generally runs in the 19 to 22 micron range, which puts the fleece in the class of cashmere. Babydoll fleece also has more barbs per inch than any other wool type, making it ideal for blending with other fibers.
Weeding trials were sponsored and monitored by the association, utilizing Babydolls as organic weeders. They have been used with great success in wine vineyards as well as fruit and berry orchards since they will not harm the fruits, girdle trunks of trees, or harm shrubs. They leave the grounds well groomed and fertilize the soil as they graze.
Babydoll Southdowns are wonderful companion animals for other non-aggressive livestock. Their calm, docile disposition has a soothing effect on other livestock.
Babydolls require the same care as other sheep breeds such as hoof trimming, worming, vaccinations, and yearly shearing. The handling facilities and feed are not as costly as with larger breeds. Shelter can be minimal, except at lambing time. Good fences are essential, more for protection from predators than containment since Babydolls do not challenge fences and do not wonder far. Portable electric mesh fences are great if you do not already have permanent fencing.
Feed, salt and mineral blocks are important for good health but you must make sure you do not give any sheep copper. Any feed, salt or mineral block that has copper in it must be keep out of reach of any sheep.
Why Everyone Loves Their Babydoll Southdowns:
The Babydoll woolly teddy bear face will always give you a smile. Their short legs along with their small size allows them the ability to do well in small areas. They are ideal for suburban lot owners who want the tranquility of sheep as living lawn ornaments. Both ewes and rams are polled (have no horns) and are non-aggressive by nature. The ewes are very good mothers, often raising twins and triplets with ease.
Because Babydoll Southdowns are a ancient breed, they are not prone to many of the modern sheep problems and are resistant to foot rot. In general, they are cared for like any other sheep which includes worming, hoof trimming, shearing, and vaccination..
Returned To Their Homeland:
One of the major goals of the original Babydoll Southdown Registry (Olde English Babydoll Southdown Sheep Registry) was to return the original breed to England where the little sheep had been extinct for over 50 years. This goal was accomplished in 1999, but their numbers are so few that they remain on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust List (RBST) http://www.rbst.org.uk/
If you are looking for an addition to your current alpaca herd, Baby Dolls are just the thing.
Popular and gaining more popularity, with most breeders have buyers on their books. One lady i know has sold out all progeny until 2014 (4 years away).
they are just so beautiful, they remind me of little elves, they are just so mystifies and so so cute