Polypay-An American Breed

Feeding time

Originally uploaded by baalands

Like all breeds of sheep, the Polypay breed was developed to fill a need. In particular the need for a highly prolific breed that could produce and mother multiple lambs in the western ranges of the United States. The name is combination of poly-referring to many or multiple and pay-the return on the investment. It was developed from a combination of Finnsheep, Rambouillet, Dorset, and Targhee. Each providing a specific benefit in the development of the breed. This combination produces a breed that is capable of producing two lamb crops a year and a single wool crop a year.

The Polypay not only is suited to the west, but is coming popular in the Midwest as well. At Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival back in September they had some polypay lambs on display showing off the off-season lambing capabilities. Plus its very nice to have cute little lambs bouncing around at the festival.

The standard calls for the wool to be uniform, not to have coarseness or britchiness and a count from between 54 to 62 (about 22-29 microns, similar to corridale). Because it is such a new breed, there is large amount of variation between fleeces. Most should have a distinct crimp and be between 3-4″ long, but some fleeces can be quite disorganized and have a crisp feel throwing back to the breeds Dorset roots.

This is definitely a breed to watch. In the future there should be more flocks of this sheep showing up at a farm near you.


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