(info adapted from http://www.oldeenglishbabydollregistry.com/)
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 everyone. Their gentle nature makes them a joy to own, and their diminutive size makes them an excellent choice for 4-H projects. Given some time and effort, these little ones will follow you around curiously looking for hand-fed goodies.
“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. They should not be kept with intact male llamas or alpacas who may attempt breeding with them. It is wise to introduce them gradually to other livestock by putting them in separate paddocks when they first arrive to their new home. This give their new friends an opportunity to say hi without it being overwhelming to the Babydoll sheep.
“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.
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.
Because of their strong flocking instinct “Babydolls” do not do well as singles. They thrive on companionship and must be with their own kind or another breed of sheep or goat. Due to this fact, lambs will only be sold in pairs if the buyer does not already have companions for their lamb.