Kindergarten Farm

Babydoll Southdown Sheep and Miniature Horses

Babydoll Southdown Sheep

2023 Lambs: To get on our wait list for rams or ewes, contact Laura (call/text 402-910-5761, email
Wethers – ask in May for availability.

You can also click on the registry links below and check the members lists for breeders near you.
Thank you for your interest in our flock!

Our family has been raising registered Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep in Eastern Nebraska for about 25 years. We breed for excellence in conformation and mothering ability/udders. We like a good fleece, too. We have sheared, carded, spun, and knitted their wool, milked them and made various cheeses, and butcher lambs for our freezers each year.  We also sell breeding stock to help other producers start or strengthen their flocks.

Our flock was established by Janette in the mid-90s with a pair of sheep which were part of the foundation flock when the classic-style Southdowns were renamed Babydolls and established as a breed.  It is now managed by us, Ben and Laura, Janette and Bill’s son’s family. Lambing happens at our place, 5 miles west of the home farm.   The flock has really grown on us, both literally and figuratively, since the shepherding torch was passed to us in 2011.

We are members of both the North American Babydoll Southdown Sheep Registry (NABSSAR) and the Olde English Babydoll Registry (OEBR):

Olde English Babydoll Registry

We expect to have lambs available each year.  Lambing will be in April; weaning in July.



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Miniature Horses

Spring 2022 – Two miniature horses now available! See the “Horses for Sale” tab for details. (Update – sold)

The original breeding stock for miniature horses came from the ‘pit’ ponies or Shetland ponies used in the coal mines of Wales and England.  Their descendants still exhibit impressive strength for their size, and our ponies often surprise people with what they can pull and carry.

Janette raises registered miniature horses as well as some Shetland crosses, and uses them to introduce children to the joy of riding, driving, grooming, and handling ponies.  Many of her animals have been to the county fair, summer camp for handicapped children, nursing homes, and farm education events for elementary students.  They are 28-36 inches tall, and gentle and friendly.


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How many lambs can you expect?

Shiro and her 2021 ram lamb

If you are considering starting a flock, or are just getting started with your breeding program, you may wonder how many lambs you will have. I can’t predict that, of course, but I can share my own experience.

Since 2011, we have had 216 lambs born on our farm. After putting Gus in with the ladies this fall, I did some number crunching to generate lambing rate statistics from my records. In 2015 I improved my record keeping, so these are based on 2015-2021. One hundred nine births resulted in 182 lambs, for a lambing rate of 1.67. Some years we bred a few ewe lambs, who tend to have singles if they get pregnant. Without them, the rate is 1.73. I can count on every ewe to lamb every year from age 2 to around 10-12. They are very reliable.

However, not all lambs survive. Our losses to stillbirths and newborn deaths over those 7 springs were 22, or 12%. Some could have been prevented, but I have learned not to beat myself up about what I could have done differently. I’m always learning. In the last 3 years, we have only lost 7%.

So – lambs that survived until weaning were 1.5 per ewe. Good mothering is a top priority in my breeding program, and most of the time, my ewes don’t need anything from me beyond good nutrition. I’ve only had to pull (help deliver) 6 of our 216 lambs. An occasional heat lamp on a cold newborn or a bottle for a hungry triplet helps, but my Babydoll Southdown ewes excel at what they do.

Weanlings and Old Grannies


The trickiest parts of flock management come at both ends of life. Today we moved this year’s ewe lambs we retained back in with their mothers to graze a fall pasture loaded with delectable weeds and grass. They have made it through the hazards of lambhood – the chilly spring nights, summer parasite dangers, and weaning. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see what stout, energetic, adorable little teddy bears they have become.

At the other end of of the spectrum, we have four aged ewes born in 2010, the year before we took over management of the flock. They have given us lambs every year since they were two, except Wooly, who had her last lamb at age eight. They are special to us – our oldest daughter named them when she was in first grade, and their personalities are distinct. Most cantankerous of all is Dora – she stomps at me if she has new lambs and thinks I’m invading her personal space, but she is also the greediest if I have a bucket or a handful of grain. Not exactly a beauty (above) since tearing her lower lip as a yearling, she now has a skinny/bony look besides, and today I was sad to see that her walk has become more of a hobble. It’s tough to think about letting any of our grannies go, but we won’t let them suffer if their quality of life declines.


We still have a few 2020 wether lambs available. They make great pets or fiber animals.

The Black Sheep of the Family

…a note about babydoll color, plus 2020 lambing news

20200426_0930472020 lambing is almost complete. We have a nice group of babies, including 3 sets of healthy triplets! Pictures of available lambs are now up on the “Sheep for Sale” page.

Babydoll southdown sheep come in black and white (also called off-white). There are also a few spotted ones, which we don’t have in our flock and are not recognized by all babydoll registries. Within those colors, there is some variation. A white lamb is born with darker color on its legs and parts of its face, from light peach to various shades of grey and brown.

A black lamb is born the color of coal, then usually fades grayer to some degree as it ages, though the muzzle, ears, and legs stay black. The tips of its wool bleach in the sun, making it look brown unless it has been recently shorn.

Occasionally a “black factor white” lamb is born, usually to a black and a white sheep bred to each other. These lambs have bright white leg and facial wool, do not meet the breed standard, and should not be registered. One of these lambs popped up in our flock several years ago, though I did not recognize it at the time – see pictures of Snowball’s triplets in my post “Lambs!” from 2017. Some breeders breed bred to black and white to white, though each shepherd makes breeding decisions based on what is important in their flock.

I love the variety of colors I see when my lambs are born. I especially like to see nice solid dark or cinnamon colored legs in my white babies, like Gem, below right. For more on babydoll color, see the breed standards posted on the registry websites.20200427_103428

Stallion Retiring


Calaway’s life work has not been to entertain children, but as it turns out, he’s pretty good at it. He has done his jobs – first as a show horse, then as a breeding stallion – well. Yesterday we decided to test him out for a new job; children’s pony. First, Janette’s 6 year old granddaughter led him around. They were getting along well, so we put her 4 year old brother on his back. He didn’t even flinch. (This probably isn’t the first time he’s been ridden – we can’t remember.) After wandering around happily for awhile (closely supervised), they declared him to have passed. He’s been retired from breeding, and is for sale as a pet (update 6/22/20 SOLD). We have also recently added several beautiful shetland/mini crosses to the Horses for Sale tab.

Shear Numbers

20190620_133339Babydoll fleece is considered short-stapled. At shearing this year (back in March) I measured the wool of each sheep just before it came off. Each fleece had a range of lengths, and I recorded the longer parts, usually the side of the neck/shoulder area. My numbers ranged from 1 3/8 in. to 4 in, with an average of 2.4 in. The yearlings averaged 2.5 in. Brutus’ fleece was the largest, and weighed 6 lb, 3 oz.

I did the shearing myself – a first, beyond dabbling with hand shears here and there. I found the electric clippers to be less intimidating than I expected, though most of the sheep suffered a nick or two. My amateur back muscles protested for the first few days, (ok, I was REALLY sore) but I didn’t do more than 5 sheep per day, and overall I enjoyed the process. I didn’t use the same positions or stroke patterns as the professionals, but found methods which worked for me. For more pictures, see the “Photos” page. 20190620_131947


Cattywampus was on hand when Jasmine was started under saddle yesterday, and he decided her first rider ought to be feline. We were pleased that she was just as calm for the cowgirl as she had been for the cat.20190610_095546

May Day colt


Born this morning – Samson! Sired by Karat, out of Princess. We are thrilled to have a baby to enjoy and halter break this summer.

Update – Samson at 12 days:


6 weeks:20190610_132125

Lambs on the Ground


The pasture is swarming with spunky lambs. Our first babies were born on April 7, and lambing may be complete; two of our “old ladies” have not bagged up yet and are keeping us guessing as to whether they will lamb late or not at all. All lambs were born live and are thriving, which is a lot to be thankful for. Some will be available – partial list and some pictures have been added to the Sheep for Sale page.

Happy New Year!


Iris is smiling on my kitchen wall now that I’ve put up NABSSAR’s 2019 calendar, featuring Kindergarten Farm’s photo on the January page. I took that picture about a year ago, and it’s just as snowy today. The sheep are already eating through their second round bale of the winter. Hard to believe we’ll be watching for spring lambs in just over 3 months! If you’re looking for quality Babydoll Southdowns, let me know.  We still have plenty of room on our waiting list, but it tends to fill up fast over the winter.

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