Babydoll sheep for family cheese production?


Ridin' The Range
Oct 12, 2011
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I've got both dairy goats and dairy sheep ... the milk is different, so that may be a factor. sheep milk is richer, sweeter, higher fat and higher milk solids than goat milk, but this varies among breeds of goats and sheep as well. you'll want to look at that before you choose.

the bigger issues are:
volume - even dairy breeds of sheep do not produce like goats do.
milking duration - sheep are short season milkers, generally not more than 6 months. goats will stay in milk for much longer, sometimes more than 18 months.
milking ease - I find even my best dairy sheep are MUCH harder to milk than goats. goat teats are on the bottom of the udder (think - gravity feed) so it's easier to milk them all the way down. and they generally have larger teats. sheep teats are half way up the udder under the flank (think - suction feed), making them harder to get a milking position on, and it's much harder to get them milked all the way down. if you don't milk them out completely, they WILL shut off production. the best we've been able to do do with hand-milking our sheep is 4 months production. this year, we'll try machine milking (suction system) so we should be able to get better milk-down and longer production.
taste - we don't actually get any cheese production from our sheep because the milk is REALLY tasty and somehow its what always disapears from the frige first.

as to southdowns, short sheep need a milking stantion so you can milk without breaking your back. that can be done, however you're going to find small sheep have small teats - even some of my full sized dairy ewes are like trying to milk a mouse... smaller sheep with smaller teats? nope, don't think I'd even try.