Hershey and Mo(u)ose joined the R&R Farm on July 20, 2015.
They are registered Olde English Miniature Babydoll Southdown sheep, an ancient breed with sweet, teddy bear faces.
Raised for their diminutive size (only 24 inches tall when mature), they are easy to handle and not aggressive.
The Southdown breed of sheep originated in the South Downs of Sussex County, England, and are one of the oldest of the Down breeds. Early literature suggests that the Southdowns were among the animals brought into the English colonies as early as 1640.
They grew in popularity in both England and America, and by 1908 there were approximately 367 registered flocks, totaling about 111,000 ewes. World War 1 brought a sharp decline in numbers and by the end of World War 11, the demand for larger cuts of meat had almost forced the breed into extinction.
Around 1990, Robert Mock began a search for the miniature sheep after having read articles about them. After a difficult search, he eventually found two small flocks of the original smaller type Southdowns and gathered them up. After finding these and promoting them as miniature sheep, others were found in various parts of the country, providing a larger gene pool. He labeled them Olde English “Babydoll” Southdowns to differentiate them from the larger modern Southdown. He also formed a sole proprietorship registry to register these sheep to insure that their lines would be kept pure. Only adults two years and older were accepted so they could be judged against the original conformation standards and heights then verified by a veterinarian. The Foundation Flock was then established and the registry closed.
The little sheep are amongst the highest priced sheep and most in demand of any breed. The demand for Babydoll wool increases each year. The wool is short stapled, but a micron count of 19 to 22 puts it in the class of cashmere. The wool has more barbs per inch than any other wool and is perfect for blending with other fine wools and for felting.
We’re very excited to have two of these registered and delightful animals here at the Farm. We invite you to come and visit!