|Title||Development of the Polypay breed of sheep|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Year of Publication||1983|
|Authors||Hulet CV, Ercanbrack S.K., Knight A.D.|
|Book Title||Sheep and Goat Handbook|
|Publisher||Winrock International, Westview Press|
|Keywords||Composite Breed Development, Polypay, Reproductive Performance, Selection|
Development of the Polypay breed was undertaken to combine into a composite breed the potential for greatly increased reproductive capacity along with desirable growth rate and carcass quality. Four breeds were selected for the foundation of the new breed-the Rambouillet and the Targhee for hardiness, large body size, long breeding season, herding instinct and fleece characteristics; the Dorset for carcass quality, milking ability and long breeding season and the Finnsheep for early puberty, early postpartum fertility and high lambing rate. Dorset x Targhee and Finnsheep x Rambouillet matings were first made in 1968, and reciprocal Dorset-Targhee x Finn-Rambouillet matings were initiated in 1969. Beginning in 1970, the respective two-breed crosses and the four-breed cross (Polypay) were each mated inter se and selected, along with straight bred Rambouillets and Targhees, or lamb production when given two opportunities to lamb/year. Initial comparisons among straightbreds and inter se mated groups showed few important differences in meat-type body conformation, body condition or growth rate, but superior annual reproductive performance by Polypays. Fertility of Polypays at 1 yr of age was high and comparable to that of the Finn- Rambouillets. Response of Polypays to twice-a-year lambing was superior to responses of Rambouillets, Targhees, Dorset-Targhees or Finn-Rambouillets. The 1974 to 1975 annual production of young Polypays was about 13% more lambs weaned than from Finn-Rambouilets and 18% more weight of lamb weaned than from Dorset-Targhees, the best of the other groups for these traits. The current (1979 to 1981) reproductive performance of Polypay ewes selected for high once-a-year lambing rate under typical range management conditions is very competitive with that of 89 Finn cross- breds. Annual production of mature Polypays on the twice-a-year lambing schedule was 1.78 lambs weaned and 58.6 kg of lamb weaned/ewe put into fall breeding.