When mature, Babydoll Southdown sheep range from 17″ to 23″ at the shoulder. This equates to a shoulder height that is equal to an average woman's knee.
As adults they can weigh on average between 80 and 130 lbs - much less than standard breeds that weigh from 150-255.
Being small makes them much easier to handle than other livestock. This makes them much less intimidating for shepherds of every age. Babydolls make great 4-H or FFA projects.
Babydolls are generally calm, inquisitive and despite what
people think - intelligent. They like to be with each other and
“their shepherds”. As any prey animal, they are cautious when faced
with new situations and new people – this is the way they keep safe. This
is why new shepherds need to spend time with their flock – especially lambs
and moms in order for them to become trusting.
Hand feeding with grain or limited snacks like animal crackers is a good way to encourage your sheep to get to know you. Even just quietly spending time with them in their environment will also do build trust.
Babydolls love routine, as you spend time with them, patterns will emerge that as you repeat will make them more and more comfortable with you. Each sheep is unique, and over time their distinct personalities will become apparent. If you want a couple of Babydolls as pets, you’ll need to put in the time to develop a relationship while they were young. Bottle fed babies are not the answer. ANY lamb will learn to love and trust their shepherd.
We do not sell bottle babies unless they are rejected by their moms. A psychologically well rounded sheep starts with fully understanding what being a sheep means – and this is something no human can teach. Bottle babies are reared in with the flock after the first couple of days to reinforce sheep behavior.
As flock animals, it's NOT a good to keep one away from the others. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a tiny lamb not know what to do with other lambs.
Perhaps one reason Babydolls have gained prominence among
mini sheep is that they are a very hardy breed. This is no doubt due to the
hundreds of years that the breed has been in existence. Foot rot is rare,
scrapies virtually unheard of, and they don’t have as much a problem with worms
as some other breeds.
Overall, if you pay attention and perform routine “maintenance” you should enjoy 14+ years with your sheep. Babydolls are called “easy keepers” because they use every bit of food to the max and only require adequate forage or “horse quality” hay to live a long, happy life.
It’s quite common for mature ewes to have twins. Triplets and quads are less common but do happen. As good moms, they are often capable of feeding all of their lambs unassisted. Giving birth is usually easy requiring no assistance.