The Polypay sheep breed is a white, medium-sized sheep which was developed in the 1960s at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. In general, Polypay sheep are noted for being a highly prolific, dual-purpose (meat and wool) breed.
Dr. C. V. Hulet created five main goals for the new breed.
- High lifetime prolificacy
- Large lamb crop at one year of age
- Ability to lamb more frequently than once per year
- Rapid growth rate of lambs
- Desirable carcass quality
The original breeding stock were taken from the Finnsheep for their high prolificacy, early puberty and short gestation, Dorset for their superior mothering ability, carcass quality, early puberty and long breeding season, Targhee for their large body size, long breeding season and quality fleeces, and Rambouilet for their adaptability, hardiness, productivity and quality fleeces.
In 1968, the first cross breeding was performed. In 1970, the resulting bred sheep were produced. The Polypay name was created in 1975 from poly, meaning multiple, and pay, meaning return on investment. The American Polypay Association was formed in 1980.