At Home With Nature

Introducing Little Pirate, Our Babydoll Sheep

After our Mama Sheep, Izzy, passed away recently, we were left with just one sheep, Buttercup.

As herd animals, sheep feel stressed out living alone, and while other types of animals can make decent companions for a lone sheep, another sheep (or more) is the best type of buddy.

On her first night alone in her enclosure, Buttercup bleated and bleated. I got out of bed to go check on her, and she was looking around, searchingly.

The next day I started scouring local ads for sheep, just out of curiosity.

One of the animals available nearby stood out to me and I researched the breed – it was a babydoll sheep.

Long story short, we ended up buying the only babydoll sheep available in our local classified ads, and brought him home in the back of our Prius in a dog crate.

It was kind of crazy that we ended up with a bleating babydoll sheep in the back of our car. Like me, Chad’s first reaction at hearing the breed “babydoll” sheep was pretty much, “No way.”

But the research I pulled up intrigued both of us. This was no new breed, but one that goes back hundreds of years, and almost went extinct. It’s officially known as the babydoll Southdown sheep.

The breed is small, reaching only about two feet tall, and the animals are known to have very gentle, friendly personalities. They have great wool and ewes can even be milked.

Before we decided to bring this wooly guy home, we talked about the possibility of rehoming Buttercup, about whether we wanted to keep sheep and maybe goats too. The answer was clear – yes, this was part of our life we wanted to keep persuing.

And after years of struggling with our flighty Icelandic sheep on shearing day, a friendly sheep sounded great!

So we brought the little babydoll wether (castrated male) home in the back of our car, and Chad carried him easily from the car to the sheep enclosure.

To start him out, we placed him in an enclosure that was separate from Buttercup, so that they could interact through the fence if they wanted, but could each have their separate spaces.

Buttercup was curious but a little standoffish at first, giving him the side eye from across the fencing as he approached her, asking for reassurance.

But standoffish or not, Buttercup stopped crying that night.

However, our dog Charlie, who could hear the little sheep bleating, whined all night, wanting to get close and check the newcomer out.

She was a little too excited though, so we had to keep her away from him while he got used to his new digs.

The next morning we allowed the two sheep to interact under our supervision, and all went perfectly fine.

There was a lot of sniffing between the little sheep and Buttercup.

As for us, he approached us curiously, but stepped away if we tried to touch him.

However, he was much more curious about us than our icelandics ever were, and much more willing to approach us – a good sign that he would be a friendly sheep.

We also noticed that his cuteness quotient had gone up about 200 percent in our enclosure compared to how he looked in his little pen at the farm where we bought him.

Once he was home with us, he looked utterly irresistible, and I now find his freckled nose just adorable.

Since our other sheep’s name is Buttercup, or officially “Princess Buttercup,” we decided that her new companion should naturally be called Wesley.

Otherwise known as “Farmboy.”

Also known as “the Dread Pirate Roberts.”

And if you haven’t followed me yet, you obviously haven’t watched the film “The Princess Bride” quite enough yet.

We’ve settled on “Little Pirate” as a good nickname for his official monikers.

While Chad definitely is in touch with his sensitive side, the word “babydoll” is a little less than manly for his taste, and “Little Pirate” helps to balance out the cute factor.

Buttercup wasn’t the only one who wanted to meet the new sheep.

The donkeys also came to check out the newcomer.

And after a good night’s sleep and permission to interact with his companion, Little Pirate was ready to officially meet the dogs too.

Charlie the dog was thrilled when Little Pirate finally let her lick his face (under supervision, of course), and the little sheep obliged by sticking his nose through the fence for further grooming.

Leo was up for this too, whining with excitement at meeting our new farm animal, and greeting Little Pirate with a lick to the nose.

This made Leo pretty happy.

Little Pirate has gotten used to his new situation, has warmed up to us significantly, and continues to enjoy interacting with the dogs through the fence.

We had to take him on another car ride, this time to the vet, and while waiting for the vet to come out to us, Chad rubbed Little Pirate’s face, patted his head, and gave him a full body massage – seemingly to our little babydoll sheep’s delight.

And now he bleats for his food, but also for us to come rub his chin – or the top of his nose, or his head. He loves to be petted.

Finding our little babydoll sheep and bringing him home turned out to be  a brilliant decision that has filled our lives with more joy.

And of course, it’s sweet to see our girl Buttercup enjoying the company of her new, pint-sized companion.

She has even seemed to warm up to us more now with her mellow fellow around.

And now there’s no more lonely bleating.

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