What are Polypay sheep used for?

The purpose of Poly sheep was to develop the breed which is known for its maternal characteristics including early fertility, prolificacy, aseasonal breeding, and milk production. Dr. Hulet coined the name “Polypay” in 1975 from “poly” many much or many, and “Pay” to indicate a return on investment and labor.

Polypay sheep breed information

Polypay sheep are medium to large-sized sheep with white color fleece.

The Polypay ewes are highly prolific and early fertility.

The milk production is enough for the lambs and they are not seasonal breeders.

The ewes produce lambs with a rapid growth rate and desirable carcass quality.

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Things to know

Polypay was born out of frustration and requirement, the Idaho sheep farmer Reed Hulet wanted a sheep breed which makes a profit. His 600 Idaho range ewes were not generating any profit. He wanted the sheep which are more prolific, better milking and mother breed suitable for farm and range.

Reed Hulet discussed with his brother Dr.Clarence Hulet to develop the best breed for profit. The final draft of the future breed was ready, which describes as to produce two lamb crops and one wool crop per year, to generate more profits.

The selected breeds were

  • Finnsheep – for their high prolificacy, early puberty, and short gestation
  • Rambouillet and Targhees – superior fleece quality, large body size and long breeding season
  • Dorset – superior mothering ability, carcass quality, early puberty and long breeding season

In 1968 USSES crossed the Finnsheep rams on Rambouillet ewes. Then Dorset rams on Targhee ewes. The lambs of the Finnsheep x Rambouillet (F x R) and Dorset x Targhee (D x T).The F x R lambs were crossed with D x T lambs to produce the first 4-breed composite in 1970.

The 4-breed composite (F x R x D x T) most closely met the prescribed production goals.

Dr. Hulet coined the name “Polypay” in 1975 from “poly” many much or many, and “Pay” to indicate a return on investment and labor.

Polypay sheep characteristics

Breed NamePolypay sheep
Other Name 
Country/Place of Originthe United States
Breed Purposeamericameat, wool
Breed Sizemedium
Weight Ram(Male)  110 kg (250 lb)
Ewe(Female)80 kg (180 lb)
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing 
Climate Tolerancelocal conditions

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