Okay, I still can't quite believe that something this cool could happen, but it seems that an entire starter flock of Babydoll Southdown sheep has been GIVEN to my mom's friend Maren, and will live at my mom's house. As in free. We're talking about real, living, breathing, baa-ing, wooly, miniature sheep. We're talking about FIVE of them: a ram, three unrelated ewes, and the yearling daughter of one of the ewes. All this is to say that they're practically mine, because I get to have all of that wonderful wool for spinning, dyeing, and knitting. Yeah!
Apparently these beautiful beasts were someone's 4-H project. The child got tired of them, and the mom gave them away. We're working on getting them registered (they're pure bred) and then we'll add the ram to the breeders registry. Isn't he handsome? He's the fellow in the second photo foreground.
We are told that two of the ewes are pregnant, and due in about 6 weeks. We're really sure which two, but my mom says two of them look a little heavier. The babies are apparently supposed to weigh between 3 and 7 pounds when born. Amazing.
My mom was telling Miss O about the sheep on the phone the other day, and three-year-old Olga has already determined that they are hers. "Baba, you got my sheep? Yeah! I like my sheep!"
A quick excerpt from the Babydoll Southdown Sheep registry:
The South Down breed of sheep originated in the South Down (hills) of Sussex County, England. The English farms kept these sheep for their flavorful meat and fine fleece. In the early 1800s the South Downs were imported to the United States. With the arrival of refrigeration larger meat carcasses were desired and the smaller sheep were crossed with bigger sheep to produce a larger animal. They are the South Downs of modern day. Around 1990 small flocks of the original smaller South Downs were rediscovered and labeled Olde English Babydoll Miniature Sheep to differentiate them from the larger modern breed.
Currently people raise these docile sheep for their wool, as pets, and grass trimmers perfect for today's smaller acreage farms. They are one of the oldest known down sheep. Today's breeders believe breed preservation is of utmost importance and strive to keep this wonderful breed of sheep from forever being lost.