Smaller than today's modernized British Southdown and the North American Southdown, Babydolls have found their way onto small farms and acreages as barnyard pets, weeders, mowers, wool producers and meat producers for families wanting to raise and consume their own lamb. Their wool is very dense, short stapled and fine with a micron count of 19 to 22 and their meat is tender and flavourful.
Babydoll rams have also proven themselves in commercial flocks. “Babydoll rams bred to larger crossbred ewes produce lambs that have incredible vigor at birth and are fast gaining feed efficient market lambs.” Jody Fuller, Fuller’s Hamps & Downs.
Babydoll lambs are very playful with each other and that makes them great fun to watch. They love to play at baby lamb pushing games, races, jumping, and high kicking competitions. It isn't long before they form little lamb "gangs" of 4 or 5 and run about the pasture on their spring-loaded legs making us, and their mothers dizzy. The more lambs there are, the more intense the playing becomes. It's easy for us to postpone our work and get lost in the world of Babydoll lambs. We now have a few of our own shepherding stories to tell and have witnessed some amazing social interaction in our flock.
Since purchasing our first Babydolls, we wanted to contribute to the restoration project for this rare breed. With that in mind we set out to expand the genetic pool in our flock so that we could eventually produce unrelated breeding pairs. Working with other Babydoll breeders in Canada, we hope to provide starter flocks to people wanting their own Babydolls. Between November 2009 and October 2010 we added six new bloodlines to our flock from registered flocks in the US. We now joke that we have "too much ram" but we are thrilled to have these beautiful boys and they will certainly help us to meet our goals. In 2010 we were given an opportunity to participate in a UK Babydoll breeder's dream to introduce new genetics into her flock and the UK, and leave a legacy for generations to come. In 2011 our flock successfully met all of the CFIA export requirements for the collection and export of semen to the UK and EU. Three of our rams, all genotyped "RR" at codon 171 for genetic resistance to Scrapie, participated in an eight month quarantine at OC Flock Mgt. in Alberta where semen was collected, frozen, and shipped to the UK . Two of the three rams we sent for collection originated from flocks in Montana and Minnesota, the third was born into our own flock here in Saskatchewan. The successful completion of this project now gives Babydoll breeders in the UK and EU access to new genetics stemming from both Canadian and US flocks.
In addition to being part of the effort to restore the Babydoll Southdown breed, we want to do our part as a sheep producer to help irradicate Scrapie by building a Scrapie resistant flock. In the spring of 2010 we had our flock DNA tested for genetic resistance to Scrapie. We are now using this information in our breeding program to produce genetically resistant offspring and build a Scrapie resistant flock. If you are interested you can find information about Scrapie, genotyping, and breeding for resistance to Scrapie at the following links:
More information about the Babydoll Southdown breed, it's history, and registries is available at:
To see pictures of some of our Babydoll sheep, click on one of the
small pictures below to see a larger version of the picture.