Thursday, March 31, 2011

Angora Glory!

We're here! It's been awhile since my last post and I'm sure you've guessed that I've been busy eating bon-bons and visting the spa! I wish. We've actually been building a new shearing stand, running around getting hay, and rearranging our kitchen. But, at last, the promised post about Angoras!


Angora rabbits produce angora; Angora goats produce mohair. Repeat.

I love my Angoras. They are beautiful goats with loads of personality. They are much more people-friendly than my Shetland sheep and they produce glorious mohair! All that said, they are A LOT of work. A LOT. I wouldn't recommend them to just anyone looking to get into fiber animals. 
Our three Angora wethers. They sit in these exact spots every single time!
Angora goats need to be sheared twice a year. Spring and fall. Their feet must be trimmed frequently. I try to trim their feet every four months, but I really should be doing it every two months. Without good foot care, your goats can develop infections or problems walking. And, I'm hear to tell ya', goats love to be caught and have their feet trimmed. Not!
We do not like to have our hair cut nor our feet trimmed.
Angora goats are prone to lice. Uggh. Good management of internal and external pests through worming is a must with Angorat goats. We alternate types of wormers from injections to oral drenches to pour-ons so that the goats don't build up a resistance. I highly recommend that you learn to do your own husbandry as it will save money on vet bills and becomes very handy in an emergency.

We are the proud owners of four, spoiled rotten Angoras: Pierre, Huck, Walter, and Catie. I've listed them in the order of their arrival at Farm Genevieve. Here's the problem with people in the fiber world. You learn to spin, knit, or weave; become quickly addicted; and then your new "friends" plant the seed that you "need" fiber animals. That's how Pierre came to us via my spinning instructor!
Pierre.
Pierre was headed to the meat locker until my teacher thought I would benefit from a white-colored Angora goat to go along with my free llama. She was absolutely correct about the color, because white blends with most other colors and dyes like an absolute dream. Pierre's fleece hangs in thick, coarse locks, but when washed it is almost like silk. In fact, I almost threw out his fleece the first time I sheared him, because I thought it was too coarse. Sigh...it takes me awhile, but I learn. 

When we picked up Pierre, I also held a couple of baby goats in my lap. One was Huck and, well, he came home, too. That love at first sight was very lucky, because Huck has the most beautiful black, silvery gray fleece. It is dark, but overdyes well. I can only describe it as baby fine and he produces a ton of it. 
Huck says: I'm a big baby and I don't care!
Huck is a registered, colored Angora and perhaps that status has gone to his head. He is sooooo spoiled. Hucky Pie screams like a lady when he gets sheared, cries at the gate if it isn't opened at sunrise, and does a "shout out" for grain when he sees you...regardless of the time of year. He's our Huck!

Walter came next. He is a registered, red Angora goat. His fleece is fine and is really more beige than red. It can be blended with a variety of colors and looks wonderful dyed or natural.

Walter naps.
Although Walter was our third Angora male, he quickly became "king of the pasture". He's in charge of everyone from the llama to the chickens. Everyone gets out of his way. Once in awhile they knock horns, but it's never anything serious. It helps that all of our male animals, right down to the barn cats, are "fixed".

Our final Angora addition is our Catie. Our only girl in a bunch of boys. Catie came to us because she was a wee goat among many and was not getting enough to eat. One day she got into the feeder and the other goats ganged up on her and broke her jaw. The vet set her jaw with a dog harness and she came to live with us. Today she is small, sweet, and spoiled.
Catie Patie helping to keep things tidy after a tornado blew threw town.
Catie has a darker fleece than Huck, but it is coarse like Pierre. It washes up nicely but doesn't overdye well.

Mohair is a wondrous fiber that adds a fuzzy luster to wool. A little mohair goes a long way and most people create blends of 25% mohair to 75% wool. I've used it up to a 50/50 blend successfully and even experiemented with 100% mohair. And since you shear twice a year, you will always have plenty of it. 
Handspun wool/mohair blend. See the fuzzies?
Mohair can also be dyed and spun straight from the locks. However, I find that washing it is more difficult than sheep's wool, so it's best to wash it in small batches and do many rinses. Or even better yet, send your blends off to the processor and have her wash it for you!
Mohair...it's worth the work!


2 comments:

  1. Your goats are gorgeous!:-)

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  2. Thank you! The goats keep us entertained every day! We sheared all four yesterday. I love it when they are sheared because then they really look like goats.

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