Baby Doll Sheep - Breed Features
Our Babydoll Sheep are derived from traditional Southdown sheep and our first sheep which form the basis of our flock, were purchased from Hillgrove Stud in 2015. These Southdowns were chosen for Dolwen Stud because Hillgrove was one of the earliest Southdown studs and they had taken an active decision not to update their flock to the modern type of Southdown. In the words of the Metcalf brothers they had kept to the "Original Southdown". For a long time they have maintained a closed flock for breeding with five families of sheep to maintain seperate breeding lines. Going back a bit further using the flock books you might find a limited amount of Southern Pastures blood mixed in with the Hillgrove flock and I am informed that these were very carefully selected from this renowned stud. It is thanks to their decision not to modernise, that Babydoll Sheep derived purely from Hillgrove stock or stock that can be traced back on all lines to the Hillgrove Stud are the closest that you will find to the Southdowns that were once common in Australia back when the Metcalfe brothers founded their Southdown stud in 1921. You can learn more detail about their breeding program from the Hillgrove Southdown Stud's website.
The Hillgrove bloodlines are widely known to be the purest genetics available in Australia to satisfy the needs of the Babydoll market and they are in short supply. If you want to be a serious breeder of Babydoll sheep it’s important to be patient and to seek out these Hillgrove genetics and to buy your stock from breeders who run a tight breeding program so you need to do your homework on tracing the bloodlines back using the ASSBA flock books. At the same time, if you are not buying directly from the Hillgrove Stud, you also need to check the physical appearance of the sheep to make sure that the sheep you are buying don’t have features that are peculiar to the modern breed of Southdown or even a different breed of sheep altogether. This can happen because the breeder could not find any purebred Babydolls to start their breeding program.We need new breeders to be aware of the pitfalls and for established breeders to adopt a high standard and to be honest in respect to their breeding program so that we don’t waste valuable genetics..
Over the next few weeks I will work on illustrating the features of the Babydoll sheep.
Southdown Australia Inc provide a good description of the characteristics of the modern Southdown sheep.