Babydoll Southdown Sheep at Cedar House Farm

Yes, it's true. They are actual living breathing sheep and not stuffed animals! And yes, their personalities are just as adorable as you expect.

I thought it might be worthwhile to share a bit about our Olde English Southdown babydoll sheep and why we chose to add them to our farm. This heritage breed was not a decision made on a whim, but rather one made after exhaustive research with close consideration of our land, the space we had available to dedicate to animals and the climate of the area we live. Other important factors were the disposition of the animals (how they would interact with our young children and with the other animals in our shared animal space) and what benefits they would offer our homestead.

We landed on this breed, first, for the obvious reason, they are the most adorable little creatures evvvva! It’s like having living breathing stuffed animals following you around all day! A close second is their gorgeous cashmere-like wool. Crochet, macramé and weaving are among my favorite creative outlets so the idea of raising adorable animals who would grow a high-quality wool that can touch the skin without being itchy (micron range of 19-22) was very appealing to me. In addition to their wool, sheep manure is an excellent fertilizer for the large garden we are building right now. It is high in both phosphorus and potassium, which are essential elements for plant growth.

babydoll sheep, sheep, lambs, lamb, cedar house farm

babydoll sheep, sheep, lambs

Note: I would like to preface the next section with a reminder that I do not claim to be a sheep expert or specialist in this breed. I am merely sharing my experiences and what I have learned from my time with them and from my personal research to help others determine if this breed may be a good fit for their homestead.

Eating Habits

They can graze and/or be fed bales of hay. On our farm, we do a combination of the two nearly year round. I would estimate that one babydoll consumes about ½ flake of hay a day. They will claim that they are still hungry after they've been fed but, rest assured, they are fine. They are very dramatic when it comes to claiming starvation and hunger, and can be very verbal about it, but don't let them fool you. They are not starving. I repeat, they are not starving.

Babydolls are great at keeping weeds at bay and clearing large areas of vegetation. While some babydoll owners have reported that their sheep will eat he weeds but leave the landscaping shrubs and fruit trees, we have NOT had that same experience. In my experience, our babydolls will not hesitate to eat my shrubs, rose bushes and fruit trees, so keep this in mind and invest in fencing to help define their parameters. Overall, they have a gentle and positive impact on the landscape. We do not let our sheep out to graze until late morning, usually 11 AM or later, to ensure that all dew/rain has evaporated off grass and foliage. 

In addition to grazing and hay, we keep a large tub of water available to them at all times. We feed them orchard grass in the spring, summer and autumn, and Timothy in the winter. They also have 24-hour access to a bowl of baking soda and a bowl of sheep minerals (or a mineral block.) 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sheep minerals and goat minerals look very similar but are NOT the same. Goat minerals contain copper which is toxic to sheep. If you have goats, be sure that the sheep never have access to goat minerals. 

babydoll sheep, sheep, lambs

Babydoll Care

Babydolls are generally very easy to care for. We trim their hooves twice a year, give them annual vaccinations, and have them shorn ever spring (usually in March or April.)  If you are interested in processing their wool, I've written a bit about the initial process HERE. Want to see a professional shearer in action? CLICK HERE.

So far, our sheep have not experienced parasites, however we do keep Ivermectin Sheep Drench on-hand just in case. We also clean their water containers regularly so larvae do not have a chance to grow.

babydoll sheep, sheep, lambs


They require minimal shelter; at the most basic, a three-sided open-air structure and a roof will do. We have an open-air barn that we are able to close and lock at night to protect them from predators. My research found that insulated structures are not advised because sheep do not fair well moving in and out of drastic temperature changes. Typically, you do not want their structure to be more than 15 degrees warmer or cooler than the outdoor temperature. 


Southdown babydolls have a strong flocking instinct and must have a fellow babydoll companion in order to thrive and live happily. 

Babydoll sheep are also excellent companions for children. With three young children, it was important to my husband and I that all the animals on our farm have gentle temperaments. Our babydolls, raised by us since they were lambs, have calm dispositions yet very distinct lovable personalities. For example, Zeus and Thor love ear scratches and to follow us around everywhere we go, whereas Hercules is more timid but loves fruit and isn't afraid to voice his opinion if you walk by at dinner time and don't feed him. Maximus, our brown babydoll, is the leader of the pack and the fastest eater in the group, which also makes him the most rotund in the flock!

babydoll sheep, sheep, lambs

Want to learn more about raising sheep? I recommend The Good Living Guide to Keeping Sheep and Other Fiber Animals written by my friend, Janet Garman. View some of my favorite homesteading tools and supplies on my Farmstead page.

the good living guide to keeping sheep and other fiber animals book cover

With their miniature stature (18-24” tall full-grown), teddy bear smiles, and friendly nature, our babydolls steal the hearts of everyone who visits our farm.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. Cedar House Living LLC receives a small commission for sales generated through these links at no additional cost to you. I use the commissions to further expand my garden, floral, and herbal knowledge so I can continue to share what I learn with you.

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