The Polypay sheep breed is relatively young. It was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. "Poly" speaks to its lineage as the breed was developed from four other sheep breeds: Finsheep, Dorsets, Targhees and Rambouillets. Polypay sheep are a well-rounded breed as they both produce quality wool and quality lamb.
Our Sourcing Story
In January of 2020, Bryan and Beverly started the search for Polypay sheep in Canada. They started with wool growers' associations and stumbled across an article profiling a Polypay breeder who had won an award in Manitoba for his sheep's fibre. The article was about John Balderson of John Balderson Farms, located in Magrath, Alberta. It turned out that John was involved in the development of the Polypay breed in the 60's and 70's, and was the first farmer to import them to Canada. John had retired and sold his heard to Michael Buck of Young Buck Farms, located west of Edmonton, Alberta. A phone call to Michael connected us with the farm we would source our sheep from. The original plan was to travel out to Edmonton in May 2020 to personally select the sheep as it was important that any stock we acquired was directly from John Balderson's original herd, however, COVID-19 resulted in the trip being cancelled. Instead, the selected animals were discussed by email and phone, and once the list was finalized, the sheep were shipped directly to our farm.
On Sept. 12, 2020, 2 polypay rams and 40 polypay ewes arrived on the farm. It has been interesting to watch them acclimate to their surroundings. While sheep are known for their flocking behaviour, this group has a noticeably strong herding instinct which is characteristic of the breed. It makes them well-suited to being raised on our pastures and means that the leadership of one or two sheep can often help the shepherd influence the direction of the group.
In the summer of 2021, we had our first lambing on the farm. We are separating our ewes into two different breeding groups so we can lamb twice a year moving forward.
On Oct. 6, 2021 we successfully imported two Targhee ram lambs from the agricultural program at the University of Wisconsin. We named them Dwight and Tom, after Dwight Yoakam and Stompin' Tom Connors (Dwight has a bald spot and Tom likes to stomp). They join Michael, our original Polypay ram.