How do you clean a sheep? And do Babydoll Sheep need to be washed?
At some point, your Babydoll Sheep lambs are going to get muddy. Many of our customers have reached out to us and asked, “How do I get my lambs fluffy and clean again? Can I wash them?”
My immediate answer is usually along the lines of, they are your animals and you care for them as you see fit. Do your research, then do you.
However, I am not a fan of washing your sheep or giving them baths. I always deter our lamb customers from washing their sheep—no matter how muddy they get, with a few exceptions.
In this post, I will explain:
- Do sheep need to be washed?
- Should you wash your sheep?
- How do you clean a sheep?
- Plus, what are those little balls of mud (or feces) are on your sheep’s tummy.
Do Sheep Need to Be Washed?
Your Babydoll Sheep do not need to be washed, unless you are showing them. That is a different conversation. However, they do not need to be bathed or groomed, ever.
While Babydoll Sheep are adorable, they are sheep. In fact, they are the original Southdown sheep. They were made to be livestock animals, and not the farm pets they’ve become.
So, they are perfectly fine if they get muddy or dirty. Unless a matted spot is pulling on their skin, they do not need intervention.
Should You Wash Your Sheep?
My advice is to never wash your sheep if you can help it. Washing your sheep can interfere with the natural oils, lanolin, on their skin. Washing away that very important lanolin can cause skin issues and irritations to your sheep.
Many of my friends are creatives such as photographers, from when I owned a magazine. One photographer friend purchased lambs from us and asked a few times if she could wash her lambs as they were muddy from recent rains.
I completely understand. You’ve got cute Babydoll Sheep and you want to take a picture or share on social media, but they’ve been rolling in mud. They’ve lost that lamb fluff you’re used to.
Again, they are your animals, but I always recommend leaving them alone to protect the skin.
And honestly, some of my favorite photographs (the ones in this post by another dear photographer friend Monica) of our sheep are when they were their most muddy—on a rainy day too.
How Do You Clean a Sheep?
When your sheep get something on them that could be hurtful to their skin, and you must wash them, you will want to use a grease-cutting soap or shampoo.
You can use Dawn Dish Soap, or a livestock or sheep-specific degreasing shampoo.
Do not get the ears wet while washing your sheep. And be sure that your sheep is completely dry to the skin before you let it back outside.
Use shears to cut out matted areas or any object stuck in the wool that is pulling or irritating the skin.
What Are The Brown Balls on My Sheep’s Tummy?
Every fall, our spring lamb customers will reach out and ask about the small brown balls of wool along their lambs’ tummies, legs and maybe even backside.
It’s just mud and dirt. As the dirt collects with the lanolin, it can create little balls of dirt on the ends of the wool. It is fine and you can leave them be.
Again, some customers don’t like how they look. You can trim them off, but I recommend you leave them be. Once they get outside in the mud, they will accumulate again.
When shearing season comes in the spring, your shearer will cut them all off with the wool and they’ll be clean again…for maybe an hour!
In Conclusion, It’s Best to Let Your Sheep, Be Sheep
While Babydoll Sheep are adorable, they are a livestock animal. They were made to be outside, in the dirt, in the elements—that is where they are happy.
And unless something gets on their coat that is harmful to their skin or tugging at it, let them be.
Instead of worrying if they are perfectly white and fluffy, which you certainly may if that makes you happy, embrace their beige, creamy, off-white and sometimes even gray seasons!
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Photographs by Leah Payne