Babydoll Sheep

Babydoll sheep or Southdown’s are one of the oldest English breeds of sheep. They come from the South Down Hills of Sussex County England. They are small sheep that are extremely hardy and have extremely tender meat. John Ellman set out to standardize the breed in 1780. They grew in numbers until 1908 when there was over 100,000 sheep in England, the growth stopped as the World Wars resulted in huge losses of breeding numbers. By the end of World War II the breed was almost extinct as larger cuts of meat were preferred. They reached the US around 1803, and went through the same growth and decline as their counterparts in England. As a result of the demand for large cuts of meat the larger Southdown was developed. This development resulted in the two distinct breeds of today, the Southdown and the miniature (original) Southdown. In 1986 Robert Mock began to search for sheep that conformed to the original standard. After an extensive search a total of 350 sheep were found. To distinguish them from their larger counterparts Mock called them Olde English Babydoll Southdown’s. A registry was started where adults over 2 years of age had to be judged by a board of the breed association in order to be accepted, and by 1991 the “Foundation Flock” was developed. Now lambs are registered. Babydoll’s have excellent wool which is in the class of cashmere. They make excellent “weeders” and companion animals as well as being a sound investment opportunity. Babydoll sheep work great in wine vineyards and orchards as they are unable to reach the fruits and they fertilize the soil while they graze. They are calm and docile and make great pets. They have a teddy bear face and they have the appearance that they are always smiling. They can be raised like any other breed of sheep; however they do tend to be resistant to foot rot.

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