OEB registered Old English “Babydoll” Southdown Sheep are wonderful heritage sheep for companionship, organic weeding, wool and meat
Olde English “Babydoll” Southdown Sheep are a heritage breed of sheep from England, valued for their extreme hardiness and meat of unmatched tenderness and flavor, as well as their fine wool.
Babydolls are known for their small stature, sweet temperament and smiling faces. The smiling woolly teddy bear faces of Babydoll sheep make everyone smile back! Their short legs and small size allow them to do well in small areas, even suburban households can keep them as pets and lawn mowers. (A good rule of thumb is one acre per five ewes and their lambs.)
Babydolls are friendly and curious and we love that they don’t challenge fencing, but happily graze within each paddock we move them to. They provide organic weeding, make excellent companion animals and are also a sound investment opportunity.
Uses for “Babydoll” Sheep
Like everything on our farm, our goal is to take joy in our animals while also having them fill multiple roles.
- Are a joy to take care of; everyone loves their smiling teddy bear faces
- Are polled (born without horns). This applies to both ewes and rams
- Are gentle and not aggressive (always use caution with a ram though)
- Ewes are very good mothers, raising twins and even triplets with ease
- Thrive on pasture and do not require grain feed
- Provide organic weeding without damaging plantings. For eg, they’re a popular choice for vineyards. We also use them around our fruit trees.
- Enrich the soil with their droppings, creating better soil fertility with less work and less time than machine mowing
- Are not prone to modern sheep problems; they’re hardy and healthy when managed properly. We have only used natural remedies occasionally (as needed) to support their health.
- Compliment other species of animals to utilize everything in the pasture. For example, cows prefer grass and sheep prefer weeds. (Having multiple species on the same pasture also reduces the parasite load for each species)
- Provide wool (in the cashmere class) when they are sheared once per year in the spring. If you can’t make use of all their wool yourself, you can sell the extra for income.
- Lambs can be sold for income or raised for meat. Lambs provide meat with unmatched tenderness and flavor
About The Breed
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.
If you’re looking to raise your own meat, Babydolls are a great option in our experience. They provide approximately 50 pounds of meat per lamb, with excellent marbling, texture and flavor.
Babydolls require annual shearing and hoof trimming and deworming as needed (we use natural dewormers). They can thrive on forage and do not need grains like larger breeds of sheep. We do recommend providing sheep specific loose minerals and salt. They do not need much shelter other than shade, except at lambing time. Predator proof fencing or a livestock guardian dog are essential for protection from predators. Portable electric netting fences are great if you do not already have permanent fencing.
Important: Babydolls are Flock Animals
Because of their strong flocking instinct Babydolls do not do well alone. They thrive on companionship and must be with their own kind or another gentle breed of sheep. Due to this fact, lambs should only be sold in pairs if the buyer does not already have companions for their lamb.
Want to learn more?
We cover all the details of Babydoll sheep from choosing your lambs, getting them home, feeding, fencing, natural remedies and so on in the Holistic Homestead Course.