Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Babydoll Sheep - History

Babydoll Southdown Sheep are not a miniaturized form of Southdown sheep. These tiny ovines are the true size of the original Southdowns that were bred by English farmers in the South Downs of Sussex County, England - where they were prized for their flavorful meat and fine fleece. These wonderful little Southdown sheep were imported to the United States in the early 1800s. Upon the invention of refrigeration, people starting crossing them with larger breeds in order to produce more meat for human consumption. These larger sheep were named the American Southdown.

The original, smaller Southdowns were "reborn" in America around 1990 and given the name "Babydoll Southdown Miniature Sheep" in order to set them apart from their larger relatives. Nowadays they are referred to as Old English Southdown Babydoll Sheep, Babydoll Southdowns, or simply Babydoll sheep.

Today Babydoll Sheep continue to be bred for their fine wool. However, they are also kept as pets, natural lawn mowers, and weeders/fertilizers in vineyards.

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