How can sheep be registered as BSBA Purebred Babydolls?
Babydoll Sheep Breeders Australia (BSBA) offers a grading up process that allows our breeders to register two levels of Babydoll sheep: EM Babydoll (EM is for Emerging) and Purebred Babydoll. Sheep can only move from EM Babydoll to Purebred Babydoll registration after a rigorous inspection process.
The development of the Babydoll Sheep breed in Australia is based on established Southdown genetics, just as Babydoll sheep in North America were drawn from Southdowns. Due to quarantine restrictions and conditions, importing North American Babydoll genetics into Australia would be complicated and expensive and we have some wonderful Southdown genetics to work with in Australia to develop a Babydoll breed in any case.
Every BSBA member has the opportunity to shape the future of this new breed, with a projected timeline for initial breed development of approximately 12 years. Purebred Babydolls in the BSBA registry are produced by breeders who employ a technique known as "grading up". Grading up is a systematic breeding process used to enhance a flock's quality by selecting and breeding with animals possessing superior qualities or particular genetic backgrounds. Through careful selection and continuous improvement, this method gradually transforms the flock, making it more uniform in terms of desired traits, and aligning it with the characteristics of the desired purebred sheep breed. Grading up is sometimes referred to as "appendix flock breeding” with progress measured in grades (D, C, B, A or similar), generations or percentages.
For the BSBA system, a sheep with Southdown genetics can be introduced into the BSBA registry and registered as EM Babydoll. This includes sheep that have been registered as Babydoll in other registries (ASSBA Babydoll) or Southdown (ASSBA Southdown). We trace their pedigrees back to their Southdown ancestors to calculate the % of proven Southdown genetics in their pedigree. We record the % Southdown for every sheep registered. These are the sheep that are being used in the BSBA Babydoll grading up process.
Upon the breeder's request, the BSBA Registry Team conducts formal inspections to determine if sheep can be upgraded from EM Babydoll (Emerging) to Purebred Babydoll registration. To be considered, sheep must have over 93% Southdown genetics in their pedigree. They are only upgraded if they have traits that match the BSBA Babydoll breed standard as outlined in the BSBA Babydoll Breed Matrix. Sheep that do not meet the criteria for upgrade to Purebred Babydoll registration retain their EM Babydoll status which recognizes they can still be useful in a Babydoll grading up program. We don’t use terms like Grade A, Grade B and similar because many people find them confusing and % Southdown gives more accurate information.
The Registry Team consists of at least three financial members, including one Committee member, of Babydoll Sheep Breeders Australia Inc. These team members are appointed by the Committee and declare any conflicts of interest at the outset. Team members are prohibited from inspecting sheep that they own, have sold or have bred.
The BSBA system of verifying pedigrees, calculating % Southdown genetics and inspecting sheep ensures that only sheep exhibiting the most authentic "Babydoll" characteristics attain the coveted BSBA Purebred Babydoll status.
Closing the BSBA registry
It's important to note that the current plan is to close the BSBA registry on 1 July 2033.
This timing was chosen to allow breeders time for at least four generations in their grading up starting from 2021. It may be reviewed with our members’ approval as we see how the breed development is progressing. We eagerly anticipate the results of the outstanding efforts of our breeders in developing this remarkable breed.