Breeding Babydoll Southdown Sheep Information
How We Started Breeding Babydolls
We started breeding Babydolls in 2015, purchasing three ewes and one ram from the historic Babydoll Southdown stud, 'Hillgrove,' Victoria, Australia. 'Hillgrove' was established in 1921.
We initially saw a newspaper advertisement for Babydolls and having never heard of them before, investigated and visited two breeders. We were impressed by what we saw and followed this with a visit to 'Hillgrove' where we made our first purchase.
Please contact us for more information on Babydoll Southdown Sheep in Australia
What Attracted Us to Babydolls?
We have farmed Dorper and White Dorper sheep for many years, loving their hardiness and intelligence. Dorpers are wonderful sheep to have in this area, especially in dry years when there is not much feed around and they are our main source of income.
However, we were looking for a hobby, something which we could have for a bit of a side-interest and Babydolls filled this gap, especially since our farm was already set up for sheep and we had the knowledge and capabilities to farm them successfully.
What are the Characteristics of Babydolls?
Babydoll Southdowns are lovely little sheep. They are smaller than the average sheep which makes them easier to handle, plus they have a wonderful, docile temperament. They are friendly and quiet and are ideal for older people or for people with children. They never try to escape from their paddock through fences. They don't have horns.
If you are looking for a sheep to graze under orchard trees or grapevines, the Babydoll is ideal. It can't graze very high on the plant because it can't stand up on its hind legs to eat the plant as other breeds can. They even naturally fertilise the soil!
Our Breeding Program
We originally started with only one ram and three ewes, but of course it is impossible to quickly grow a sizeable mob with this small number. This led us to investigate using Artificial Insermination (AI) and embryo transfer with the Babydolls and we located 'Murray River Genetics' also at Moama, who were happy to undertake and support us through the whole process.
We have used our Dorper or first cross Babydoll/Dorper ewes as the recipient ewes, our Babydoll ewes as the egg donors and have sourced two external Babydoll rams (with traceable Babydoll pedigrees) for the donor semen. One advantage of using AI and embryo transfer is the ewes all lamb at the same time which makes lambing management a breeze.
Please contact us for more information on Babydoll Southdown Sheep in Australia.
Do We Use 'Modern Southdown' Genetics in our Breeding Program?
We are very conscientious of using only those Babydolls with traceable pedigrees and who are registered with the Australian Sheep Breeder's Association (ASSBA.) All our Babydoll's pedigrees show they mostly come from 'Hillgrove Stud,' which is the oldest Babydoll Southdown stud in Australia.
We do not use any Modern Southdown or other sheep breeds in our stud program. To assist our maiden Dorpers ewes with birthing their first lamb, we use our Babydoll Southdown rams over them as the lamb will then be smaller at birth. The lambs born show very strong Southdown genetics, are robust, very solid and are sold as fat lambs.
Due to the prevalence of Modern Southdowns in Australia today, the restrictions on importing semen or sheep from overseas and movement of sheep between states in Australia, and because many breeders of Babydolls have difficulty in locating Babydoll ewes, there may be very few, if any, 'full-blood' Babydolls in Australia. It's up to the buyer to ask about the pedigrees of any Babydolls Southdowns offered for sale to ensure they meet the buyer's needs. Please contact us for more information on Babydoll Southdown Sheep in Australia.