Wonderful, loving mothers and curious, cuddly babies!
The Miniature Southdown Sheep is a rare breed that originated on the South Down hills of Sussex County, England, and it is one of the oldest known purebred breeds in the world. Partly because of their extreme hardiness, Southdown Sheep were imported into the United States in the early 1800's, where they were crossbred with domestic sheep to produce a larger animal. This cross resulted in the common Southdown breed known today. However, those larger Southdown sheep actually originated from the "miniature babydoll" breed.
Unlike other breeds, Babydolls don't generally bother trees and shrubs, so they make wonderful "lawnmowers". Because of their short legs and little bodies, they are perfect for small areas, and a pair can easily fit on a large city lot. They make great companions for other livestock like goats and horses, and have even been used in therapy programs because of their mild and sweet personalities. They are ideal animals for children, the handicapped, and older folks who can no longer deal with larger breeds, but don't want to stop raising sheep. Their wool is short stapled and fine, and spinners enjoy working with it. It is fleece-tested at 19-20 microns, which puts it in the class of cashmere. It has more barbs per inch than any other wool type which makes it ideal for blending, and it adds bounce and strength to other fibers. Babydoll's are a proven financial investment and most breeders sell out of lambs early in the spring. They are especially in demand because they are economical to feed and maintain. Prices for Babydoll's are comparitive to other miniature breeds.
Taking care of miniature Southdown's is similar to that of other sheep, although their small size makes them much easier to work with. They require yearly sheering and vaccinating, foot-trimming, and seasonal worming. Because they are an ancient breed, they are not prone to many of the modern sheep problems, and are resistent to foot rot and intestinal parasites. Ewes are naturally attentive mothers and give birth with ease, commonly to twins or triplets. Feeding is much more economical than with larger breeds, and Babydoll's can thrive on small amounts of good quality hay, sheep salt minerals, and fresh water.
These little sheep have a "teddybear" appearance due to their bushy eyebrows and wool on their faces. Making them even more charming, is that they appear to always be smiling. To be registered, adult Miniature Southdown's must measure 24 inches or less at the shoulder when shorn. Most babydoll's are usually white, however, there are also lambs with cinnamon or gray faces and legs, and even solid black Southdown's in the Registries.
Babydolls are very docile and quiet in nature. Due to their gentleness and small size, they make excellent 4-H projects and companion animals for adults and children. Neither the males or females have horns. Having been bred for many years to live in small areas, they do not require a large pasture, and they are not prone to wander or bother fences. Because of their strong flocking instinct, they do not do well as singles. Therefore, lambs will only be sold in pairs if the buyer does not already have a companion for their lamb. Babydoll's will do well with other non-aggresive livestock, such as horses and alpacas.
The Babydoll "smile" instantly captures your heart...