Babydoll Sheep is a favorite breed among modern farmers. It’s an old breed with origins in South Downs Sussex, England. These small sheep have an easy nature and are easy to rear as pets. In addition, the Babydoll sheep breed is valuable due to its high-quality meat and wool.
Babydoll Southdowns sheep also enhance other sheep breeds. Although some farmers now keep the original Babydoll Southdowns sheep breed, modern farms have a taller and slender Southdowns breed.
Quick Facts About Babydoll Southdowns Sheep Breed
|Origin||East Sussex, England|
|Conditions||Thrive in cool to moderate climates|
|Body size||Short and Stocky|
|Weight||Lambs: below 150 lbs.
Ewes at maturity: 150-180 lbs.
Rams at maturity: 170-200 lbs.
|Height||Lambs: below 18 inches
Ewes at maturity: 19-23 inches
Rams at maturity: 21-24 inches
Mature Ewes: $600-800
Mature Rams: $600-800
|Color||Originally White or Black|
|Wool properties||Length: 2-3 inches long
Texture: 19-22 microns
Weight: 6-11 lbs
|Life expectancy||10-16 years|
|Dwellings||Outdoors in fenced pens|
|Uses||Meat, Pets, Weeders|
|Personality||Docile and intelligent, with a powerful instinct to flock|
Characteristics of Babydoll Southdowns Sheep
Babydoll Southdowns sheep differ from the modern breed through their physical attributes. Below are the distinguishing features of babydoll sheep from other breeds.
Babydoll Southdowns sheep are small and stocky with short legs. Due to their low legs and their thickset body, they cannot stand using their rear feet.
Rams weigh above 200 pounds while ewes weigh about 150 pounds. Mature babydoll sheep are about 20-24 inches tall, slightly different between the ewes and rams.
The distinctive body features
Head: Babydoll sheep have a medium-sized hornless head. The wool around their head is short and varies in color. Depending on the sheep’s body, wool color, from black, dark brown, tan, and cream to white.
Lips: Their lips and nose are dark-colored, except in newborn lambs. Babydoll sheep have a broad muzzle for grazing that appears to be smiling.
Ears: The spacing of ears is with brown or dark fur spots. Eyes should be yellowish-brown in color.
Torso: Shoulders are at level with the back while the neck and ribs are thick and wide. The rump is long and flat, with wide hip bones and muscular thighs.
Hooves: Babydoll hooves are dark-colored, with occasional light-colored strips.
Wool: Babydoll sheep faces should have thin fleece, while the wool on their bodies should be thick, soft, and either whitish or black. White wool is more valuable as it is easy to dye.
What are the uses of Babydoll Sheep?
Babydoll sheep breed is part of legacy breeds as it was used in improving several other breeds such as the Hampshire, Shropshire, and Oxford. In addition, their rich history as the oldest breed from the South ensures their existence to date.
They offer numerous benefits to their owners and thrive in cool temperatures, with rich soil and healthy green grass.
When bred for meat production, their tiny bodies surprisingly pack plenty of meat that is full of flavor.
As companions, babydoll sheep make good pets for people of all ages and physical conditions. Besides being small enough to cuddle, they are joyfully calm and easy-going around people. Additionally, they are bright and follow instructions well, safely mingling with other friendly livestock.
Their wool is tenderly soft, ranging from mid to high 20s microns, almost similar to cashmere. It is known to blend effortlessly with other types of fleeces.
Finally, Babydoll sheep make great natural weeders. When left to feed in open land, they clear the soil beneath fruit and produce trees, leaving the land fertile. They are often used in vineyards and orchards to eat the young shoots and the grass between plants.
Babydoll Southdowns Sheep Behavior
Babydoll Southdowns sheep are generally meek, submissive animals, making them excellent domestic animals.
As obedient species, one can quickly train them as pets, and they will follow you around. You will find them in groups as social animals like sheep tend to flock together.
How to Care for Babydoll Southdowns Sheep
Taking care of Babydoll Southdowns Sheep is similar to most breeds of sheep. However, babydoll sheep are easier to take care of due to their size and calm nature.
In addition, since they do not take up much space and eat small quantities, they are cheaper to rear.
Below are ways to handle the needs of Babydoll Southdowns Sheep:
Shearing and Cleaning
Since babydoll sheep have short wool, they do not require much shearing. Therefore, once in springtime is ideal.
However, hot urine can burn and stick to their rear wool, so clean the area with water and soap before shearing.
You can wash the sheep as frequently as you like using dog shampoo or dish soap, dry them, and apply Vaseline on the affected area if they have a burn. Keep excess wool from impairing their vision by frequently trimming around the eyes.
Roaming land size
Babydoll sheep are docile and prefer to stay close to home, so they do not require excess space to move around. However, ensure there is enough space to accommodate more sheep after lambing.
Considering you can keep babydoll Southdowns indoors or outdoors, ensure you protect them from human and animal predators. If their structure is outdoors, install a high fence for additional protection.
Babydoll sheep feed on green grass so let them roam around the farm and yard. However, during dry months, supplement their hay with nutritious sheep pellets.
Additionally, provide clean drinking water and loose mineral-free sheep salt. Ensure any food or salts you buy do not contain copper, which is harmful to livestock.
Although babydoll sheep are hardy and do not get foot rot quickly, trim their hooves frequently to prevent overgrowth. Hoof overgrowth can affect their mobility and cause leg or foot health problems.
Purchase hoof trimmers to clip their claws or have a professional livestock hoof trimmer visit for regular maintenance.
Ensure to deworm young babydoll sheep every month and every three months after weaning. The frequency depends on the quality of grass or hay they feed on and if it has a high number of parasites.
Babydoll sheep receive their first vaccinations after birth, during weaning, and annually. Keep a schedule at home or with your vet to keep up with all medications as required.
Babydoll sheep begin breeding at about a year old to two years of age when they mature.
Since Babydoll Southdowns Sheep loves company, ensure you have two or more sheep or other domestic animals around them. Rearing Olde English Babydoll Southdowns sheep prevents them from going extinct, the best way to protect native animal species.