Grade Up - the time it takes
One of the questions or concerns we have heard for BSSBA's Grade Up program is that it takes a lot of time - true! It's a process that does take some time.
This example lineage chart is a visual flow chart of the BSSBA Grade Up program:
As you can see from the visual, after getting an unpapered ewe approved to be a "foundation ewe", it will take about 4 - 5 generations of recorded ewe lambs bred to BSSBA registered purebred rams before the offspring, all those generations out, can be considered to be registered* with BSSBA.
The thought process behind this several generation process is that there is a chance the unpapered foundation ewe could be a well-disquised mix. So it takes several generations of breeding to registered, purebred rams for the offspring down the line to be considered pure.
In all likelihood, the sheep applying for Grade Up program are purebred sheep whose lineage/ paperwork just fell through the cracks for various reasons (some mentioned here: Concerns & Clarity). So breeding to purebred, BSSBA registered rams will only improve the bloodline all the more.
This "long" process is there in place to ensure the best for the breed whatever the situation might be though with the foundation line. BSSBA wanted to take every precaution for the breed when offering this program.
Here's some perspective on time though: Wesh Farm in New Jersey has a 10-year-old ewe who when last delivered spring of 20202 was still proving to be a phenomenal mother. This ewe is registered from registered stock, but theoretically, if she wasn't & as an example, this farm would have a living "foundation ewe" and her lineage (5 or so generations out at this point) would be registerable.
Also, when getting involved in Babydolls (or truly any animal investment), is it something you consider a temporary hobby? Do you not intend to invest your time, interest, and skill in breeding quality sheep for more than 8 years? After all, that's about how long this process can ideally take and that is not even the full expected lifespan of a Babydoll sheep.
Finally, take into account this process is really the same steps and time it would take to improve any fault you might find or dislike in a sheep you are breeding. You have an absolutely beautifully built, stocky ewe who delivers well on her own and mothers her lambs well, but her wool isn't the best quality you have seen in the breed. So you pair her with a fluffy, well-built ram and breed her lineage from there to improve the wool quality while also preserving the build you like.
BSSBA's goal here is strictly to improve the quality of the Babydoll Southdown breed with this program that accommodates breeders who acquired caliber, but unpaperer sheep.
Interested in the Grade Up program? First, see if your sheep meets the BSSBA Breed Standard: http://www.babydollsheepregistry.org/breedstandard.htm
Some references on our website:
* Registerable sheep from these Grade Up program recorded sheep will be easy to spot from their lineage charts reflecting their background.