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Kindergarten Farm

Babydoll Southdown Sheep and Miniature Horses

Babydoll Southdown Sheep

Our family has been raising registered Old English Babydoll Southdown sheep for over twenty years. Our goals are high quality wool, meat, and conformity to the breed standard as the original Southdown.  We have sheared, carded, spun, knit, and woven their wool, milked them and made various cheeses, and butcher lambs for our freezers each year.  We 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, Janette and Bill’s son’s family, and 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 a few years back.

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

NABSSAR
Olde English Babydoll Registry

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

rachel-snowball

 

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Miniature Horses

The original breeding stock for miniature horses came from the ‘pit’ ponies or Shetland ponies used the coal mines in 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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Lambing Time, Blizzard Time

 

Newborn lambs and high winds/drifting snow are a bad combination. Over the weekend we were so thankful to be able to bring the sheep inside. After a midwinter predator attack, we repurposed one end of a company building, built a temporary pen, and have brought the sheep in every night since.  Some years our 3-sided sheds are adequate even through lambing, but this year late episodes of winter weather have made better shelter essential. We’re still feeding some hay, which is unusual for us in April.

Brutus’ lambs are looking great, and so far we have 6 ewe and 3 ram lambs. Pictured above: Right – Anna and Elsa, 8 hours old. First time mom Iris is doing a great job. Middle – our daughter with one of Millie’s triplets. They’re getting a few supplemental bottles, and she calls them “the sniffy babies” because they are quite friendly and come up to nuzzle people. Left – ewes and lambs waiting for the storm to end so they can be outside.

Halter Training the Ewe Lambs

     Wild little antelope – that’s what our young ewes often act like for the first year or two. This year, I decided to put some effort into taming the 3 we kept.  In November, after the mature ewes went in with the ram, I caught and worked with the young ones daily for awhile. Soon they were walking beside or just ahead of me fairly cooperatively.  After the first couple of weeks, I started letting our two youngest children, aged 2 and 4, come out and help.
While not exactly submissive, the little ewes do come running at the shake of a grain bucket now, and are beginning to trust people.  This will make shearing, lambing, and other human interactions less stressful.  I plan to use my newly learned strategies on next year’s lambs when they’re younger, right after weaning, and hopefully our sheep customers will have halter-trained babies by pick-up time!

rachel and lamb
~This is what it’s all about!~

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from everyone at Kindergarten Farm.  James went out to help grandma Janette with chores after presents this morning, and was excited to have snow on the ground!  God has provided through another year, and we have so much to be thankful for. Thanks to everyone who worked with and did business with us over the past year; we wish you and your families the very best.

Brutus and Jasper

Brutus only has a week left to hang out with his buddy Jasper before he goes in with the ewes.  Can’t wait to see his lambs!

Karat and Jasmine

We took a walk one fine fall afternoon and visited some of our friends.  Hoping for a foal from Karat and Jasmine in the spring!

NABSSAR Photo Contest

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NABSSAR (Babydoll registry) does an annual photo contest and produces a calendar with the winners.  Among those chosen this year was Laura’s shot of Quarter and her lamb in the orchard, which will be the September photo for their 2018 calendar.
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Snack time!*

snack for ewes

The ewes have moved to a creek-bottom pasture that usually stays nice and green through fall.  It’s a season of peaceful grazing and regaining their body condition for the coming breeding season.  Their lambs were weaned, and those we sold went to their new homes.  Aside from a brief parasite attack in some of the weaned lambs, it was a good summer for the flock.  It was the first time we’d needed wormer in several years, and they recovered well.  Our area was blessed with late summer rains, which meant greener grass and a better second cutting of hay than some years.
*Note: The sheep don’t get grain as part of their normal diet this time of year; only a small amount occasionally as a treat.

Foals and Summer Fun

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Only two foals were born on Kindergarten Farm this summer, but we’re enjoying them more than ever.  Eclipse is the first full-sized foal we’ve ever had, a Fresian/Walker cross, born to our saddle mare, Caramel.  Clyde is a Shetland/Miniature Horse cross, and will be for sale as a weanling this fall.  Both have been caught and handled almost every day since birth.  This makes them a lot of fun, as they’re getting quite friendly and are leading very well.  Pictured with the grandchildren in the driveway is Mouse, one of our favorite older mares.  Grandpa wonders if it’s safe to lead a pony before you’re two; grandma says yes – it is under the right circumstances!  If you’re interested in a pony/miniature horse, check out our updates to the “Horses for Sale” tab.

 

Spring Training

Time to earn some of that hay you’ve been eating all winter, we told the horses!  Several groups of children have been out to the home farm for riding lessons, and I (Laura) borrowed a couple to work with at our place.  Golden Cloud (“GC”) has been getting used to the idea of pulling a cart.  Janette is gearing up for ARC’s summer camp for handicapped kids; this year she’s celebrating 20 years of bringing horses to camp for that fun-loving crowd.

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