Caring For Olde English Babydoll Sheep
What do you need to be succesful in raising Olde English Babydoll Sheep?
- About an acre of good, improved grass pasture per 3 ewes and their lambs
- Good Fencing, we prefer 39" page wire with a single top board
- Consider a Livestock Guardian Dog, or guard donkey or guard Llama (we use all three)
- A shelter to protect sheep and lambs from rain, sleet, snow and wind
- One or more good general sheep books such as Storey's Guide to Sheep Raising
- 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, 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, and enjoy socializing with people.
Be sure to read:
Thinking of being a Shepherd? (Part 1)
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.
- Never feed 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.