Basic Care Requirements for Babydoll Southdown Sheep:
The following are some typical requirements for successful sheep raising (from the North American Babydoll Sheep Association and Registry–known as NABSSAR):
- A 3-sided shelter to protect sheep and lambs from rain, sleet, snow. or wind;
- About an acre of good, improved grass pasture per 5 ewes and their lambs, and good predator-proof fencing; possibly a Livestock Guardian Dog, or guard donkey or guard Llama;
- One or more good general sheep husbandry books such as Storey’s Guide to Sheep Raising and Laura Lawson’s Lambing Problems and Managing Your Ewe;
- The dedication to get outside twice a day to check on the sheep and to feed and water as necessary;
- A place for storage of hay and grain;
- Hoof trimmers, hand shears, halters, buckets, and a sheep-specific, loose salt mineral supplement;
- Periodic hoof trimming, deworming, shearing and yearly vaccinations are standard care;
- If you take the time to regularly handle your sheep they will easily tame down, walk on leashes, and enjoy socializing with people.
A few additional notes I have are these:
- Clean, fresh water should always be available.
- The loose salt mineral supplement should be specifically for sheep. That means it will not contain copper which is toxic to sheep. If you keep other animals with your sheep, it is important that you keep their mineral supplement unavailable to the sheep. Also, grain can contain higher levels of copper, so check any grain your sheep may have access to.
- To give a rough idea of frequency: Shearing: 1 time a year; Hoofs inspected/trimmed: 3 times a year; Wormed: approx. 3 times/year based on your conditions; CD&T shot: yearly in adults. Consulting your veterinarian is always a good idea to determine what is appropriate for your area and your conditions.
- If you ever see green colored flies on or near your sheep–especially many of them bothering an individual, check for fly strike! This is a good reason to make sure your sheep are sheared early in the spring. Catron IV or any other “screw worm” spray is effective for fly strike that hasn’t progressed too far, but you’ll probably have to respray several times before totally eliminating the problem. UltraBoss is a product that can be used preventatively for many external parasites.
- Pregnant ewes should not be wormed with Valbazen, nor should it be used in the weeks prior to breeding.
- Never feed old or moldy hay.
- Babydolls are easy-keepers and require only grass or good quality hay and a sheep salt mineral for maintenance. We hand-feed grain as a little treat occasionally, but they do not get grain regularly other than during the last few weeks of pregnancy and during lactation.
- Since they are a flock animal, they should always be kept with at least one other sheep at all times.
- If you use a 3-sided shed, note which direction your prevailing winds come from. You will want your sheep to have both cover and shelter from the winds during the cold months. During the hot months, they will seek shade where the breeze is (perhaps behind the shelter instead of in it), or will find shade from a tree. So position the shelter with winter in mind if you live in a colder climate.