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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Polypay Sheep

Breeds of Livestock - Polypay Sheep


polypay2.jpgThe Polypay was born out of frustration and a dream in the the late 1960's. The frustration was in needing more productive sheep to make a profit. The dream was to develop sheep which would produce two lamb crops and one wool crop per year. Led by Dr. C.V. Hulet, the scientists at the U.S. Sheep Experimentation Station in Dubois, Idaho developed five primary goals for the dream breed:

  1. High lifetime prolificacy
  2. Large lamb crop at one year of age
  3. Ability to lamb more frequently than once per year
  4. Rapid growth rate of lambs
  5. Desirable carcass quality

The gene pool was developed from four existing breeds: Finnsheep with their high prolificacy, early puberty and short gestation; Rambouillet with their adaptability, hardiness, productivity and quality fleeces; Targhee with their large body size, long breeding season and quality fleeces and Dorset with their superior mothering ability, carcass quality, early puberty and long breeding season.

The first crosses were made in 1968 and the first 4-breed composites were made in 1970. The name Polypay was coined in 1975 from poly, meaning multiple, and pay, meaning return on labor and investment. The American Polypay Sheep Association was organized in 1980. Polypay sheep have shown themselves to be adaptable to diverse operations from range flocks to farm flocks. There are now Polypay breeders throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Recently Polypay breeding stock have been exported to South America. Polypay sheep and their breeders continue to work hard to live up to their motto: "Tomorrow's Sheep Today".


Breed Associations and Registries


American Polypay Sheep Association, 1557 173rd Ave., Milo, Iowa 50166 641-942-6402


Dr. Jerry Fitch, Extension Sheep Specialist, Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, email:


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Last Update January 27, 1997


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Project initiated April, 1994 - Initial web site opened February 22, 1995

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