Poll Merino

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The Poll Merino is a subtype of the Australian Merino breed of domestic sheep, without horns, that was developed in Australia.


These sheep are early maturing, large framed and relatively plain bodied, producing a fleece which is soft handling and of good colour thus retaining the attributes of the Merino. Polled Merinos are now found in the various strains of Merinos.Stephens, M (et al.), Handbook of Australian Livestock, Australian Meat & Livestock Export Corporation, 2000 (4th ed.), ISBN 1 74036 2160

A single gene with three possible alleles controls horn inheritance in Australian Merinos.

<table border=1><tr><th>allele</th><th>Result</th><th>Comment</th></tr><tr><td>P</td><td>Poll</td><td>Dominant to p and P<sup>1</sup></td></tr><tr><td>P<sup>1</sup></td><td>Horns</td><td>Recessive to P, Dominant to p</td></tr><tr><td>p</td><td>Horns in rams, scurs in ewes</td><td>Recessive to P<sup>1</sup> and P</td></tr></table>

Poll Merino rams are not susceptible to poll strike (maggots behind the horns) which results from fighting and which can cause temporary infertility. They are also easier to crutch and shear, are less likely to become caught in fences...
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