Breeding Babydoll Sheep in Australia
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.
In our wildest dreams we never thought we would have the opportunity to purchase the entire 'Hillgrove' stud a few years later. Mr and Mrs Murray and Judy Peart, the owners of 'Hillgrove Stud' wished to retire, and offered us the stud in December 2018, which we accepted. In February 2019 we received permission from the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA) to use the name 'Hillgrove' as our stud prefix and consequently we no longer use our former prefix 'Gully Green.'
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 may be the answer, provided they are managed properly. Babydolls 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. Be aware though, that if a Babydoll has Modern or another breed of sheep in its pedigree it may grow too tall to be effective.
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.
In 2019 we exported embroys to the EU; the first time in Australia Babydoll embryos have been exported to the EU. We have had enquiries from New Zealand and South Africa.
Please contact us for more information about using Embryo Transfer and/or AI. We can organise for semen to be available for a fee if requested.
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.) Almost all of our Babydoll's pedigrees can be traced from 'Hillgrove Stud,' which is the oldest Babydoll Southdown stud in Australia. However, a number of years ago Hillgrove Stud used some Modern Southdown rams in their stud to increase the genetic pool available and as a result some of our Babydolls from Hillgrove Stud have some Modern genetics in their bloodlines from a number of generations ago. We are very conscious of this when working out our breeding program and try not to cross any ram with any ewe when both have Modern genetics in their bloodlines. The Modern Southdown characteristics will show, for example, taller with longer legs, longer necks and a cleaner face.
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, it is difficult to locate '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.
Full-Blood and Pure: What do they mean?
A full-blood sheep is one that has always been of a particular breed and has never in its pedigree, been crossed with another breed.
A pure sheep is one which has been crossed with two different breeds and the resultant lamb crossed again for four generations for a ewe, and five generations for a ram*, until it shows all the characteristics of the desired breed and has been classed as pure by a registered sheep judge.
* Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA) guidelines