Angora goat: facts, details and how to raise them
Angora goats is the most famous and well-known wool goat breed, highly valued all over the world for their valuable fiber called mohair. Mohair has been and still is widely used all over the world to create luxury clothing and household items. Even now, in the era of synthetic fibers, mohair has not lost its attarctiveness and popularity.
If you are into producing fiber, or just want to experiment with it on your own farm or homestead, Angora goat is probably your best option. This is a wonderful goat to have around, and to base your fiber business (or hobby) on. But of course, as with anything, there is quite a lot you need to know about Angora goats. This is what you can learn in this article:
Angora Goat origins
Angora goats physical appearance
Angora goats meat yeild – not too much, but very tasty
Angora goat milk yeild: not much in this department
Angora goat fiber – the famous mohair
Shearing your Angora goats
Choosing an Angora goat correctly
Angora Goat pros
Angora goat cons
Angora goats are one of the ancient breeds of goats most famous for its excellent fiber, also called mohair. Most wool goats all over the world have originated from crossing local breeds of goats with the Angora goat.
But none can compare to it in terms of superior quality of yarn and fiber it provides. This excellent yarn has been used for centuries to create items of clothing and household items, such as blankets and throws. Although today we have many synthetic fabrics to create those items from, Angora mohair remains a luxury fiber used to create some wonderful products and is valued as high as ever.
It’s isn’t entirely clear where exactly Angora goats took their origin. Goats were highly valuable and popular animals all over the ancient world. In Asia, particularly in Sumer and Akkad, where the oldest traces of goat domestication can be found, people have used goats extencively for meat, milk and wool.
For wool, long-haired goates were particularly used. You can still find their depictions on ancient stones discovered in Mesopotamia. In Middle ages, the goats that aer most closely related to todays Angora goats, were extencively bred in Turkey. This is where their name originated from: Ankara, the capital of Turkey.
From 19th century and onward, Angora goats could be met in many regions of the planet, such as North America, Europe, Africa and all parts of Europe. Today, they are literally everywhere, including remote islands in the Pacific and Australia. There are also lots of cross breeds that have Angora goats in their bloodlines. This is because Angora goats are quite demanding in terms of the environment they need to thrive, and they don’t adapt that well to the various climactic regions. They are quite sensitive to weather, although they aer more adaptable to various types of feed.
Angora goats are a medium sized goat with males reaching up to 65-75 cm in height, and females standing up to 55-65 cm. A male Angora goat can weigth 50-60 kg (sometimes up to 80 kg for larger goats). An Angora female would be smaller and weight only around 30-50kg.
Angora goats have smaller heads with slightly bent noses. The males have large horns, while females have smaller, more delicate horns pointing to the back of the head. Both males and females have a “beard” that gives the Angora goat its characteristic look.
Angora goats are shorter goats, with thick, stalky legs. Their bodies are fully covered with their thick, rich coat of long, wavy or curly hair which is also called mohair. The hair can be 20-30 cm long!
Did you know that Angora goats offer high quality, good-tasting meat? This is true, although Angora goats aren’t raised for meat production per se. For a well-fed animal, dressing percentage is up to 40-42% (this is how much actual meat and bones you can get from a goat of a certain weight).
Angora’s aren’t the best goats for milk production: in fact, they are never really used for that purpose. Their lactation period is quite short and they don’t produce much milk even at the peak of their lactation. They are also not that productive in terms of the number of kids they produce.
Mohair fleece is what makes Angora goats so famous and so useful. The fleece is used in the production of many luxury textiles for clothing items and household items. Mohair is a long, soft, elastic and very hardy fiber with lustrous sheen along its length. Mohair is superior over any other goats or sheep wool by all the parameters.
To collect the fiber, Angora goats are sheered once per year (in the areas with moderate climate) or twice a year in warmer areas. You can get 3-6 kg from an adult goat (more from the males, slightly less from females), and 1.5-3 kg from younger goats. The males produce slightly rougher fiber than that of females. With age, both genders begin producing rougher and shorterfiber than younger goats.
In the warmer climates, Angora goats are sheered twice a year – in the sping and in the fall. Angora goats tend to shed some of their hair in the spring, so it is important that they are sheered in time.
If you are a proud owner of an Angora goat, congratulations! You are in fo the world of fun, affection and wonderful fiber. But you probably also have lots to learn. For example, learn how to shear your Angora goat. This is something you are going to be doing a lot of if you choose to own an Angora! Here is a short guide on how to do it right.
All goats are sheared in spring. This is done because goats usually start their seasonal shedding in spring and, if you leave them unsheared, you will lose some of the fiber. If you have an Angora coat, you will also shear them in September, especially if you live in a warmer climate. (The spring shearing in warmer climates happens around May).
Shearing doesn’t affect the goats’ health in any negative ways (except, if you live in a colder climate and shear your goats in Spetmeber, you may want to keep them inside in the barn for a while until their coats grow out again). Sheared goats are actually less prone to parasitic infections. With Angora goats in particular, shearing twice a year helps maintain the coat in a sanitary condition which improves the quality of the fiber.
Before shearing, the animals coat has to be cleaned and prepared, which helps maintain the quality of fiber and also makes your job as a shearer easier. The coat needs to be clean and dry. During shearing season, you need to pay extra attention to skin and coat parasites. Sheep that display any signs of infection need to be sheared away from healthy sheep.
When it comes to shearing, you can do it manually or using special electric shears. Using elecric tools makes your job easier and also can help produce bettermohair as the fibers are cut closer to the body and the resulting fiber is longer. This is especially important for thinner fibers. And of course, your productivity goes way up than if you were doing it manually.
Needless to say, you need to be kind and gentle with you r animals during shearing. This can be a stressful occasion for your goats, especially if this is their first time being sheared. Be particularly careful around the udder area (or testicle area with the boys). You don’t want to inflict any cuts/bruises/other injuries.
Before shearing, the animal is usually tied up by tying 3 of its legs together. You can first put your goat onto one side (left). Use a table of any other convenient flat surface. Make sure the goat can’t kick you and can’t get up without you lifting it up. Clean the goats coat thoroughly, remove any dirt or grass out of the hair. First the hair around the tail, udder and thighs is removed. Then the hair along the belly and chest.
After that the sides and the back can be sheared. At last, you can shear the goat’s neck. Then help the goat up. Check the goat to see if there are any scratches/injuries after shearing and treat the wounds if necessary. Then let your goat go and relax. They will be very happy to do so.
After shearing, you need to pay special attention to your goats and keep them inside to protect them from cold or from sunburn, depending on the season. You also need to ration their feed. If your goat is too hungry and/or stressed, they may overeat which may cause them to get sick.
If you want to own an Angora coat to produce and sell mohair, you need to make sure you are getting a purebred, quality animal (or, animals, because you really don’t want to get just one goat). Pay special attenion to the papers that the goat has. Their genealogy needs to be in place, and you need to make sure your goat comes from a healthy, quality bloodline. This will ensure you are getting a healthy animal that will serve you for a long time and be a good producer.
You should also pay attention to the state of the goat itself. A healthy goat should be active, outgoing, graceful, with good, shiny and healthy coat. It should have a good appetite and well-developed musculature, good teeth and clear eyes and nose, all of which are the sign sof the animal’s health. Check if the goats legs and hooves look good and strong, if their udder is healthy and not affected by mastitis, which can be a problem to treat.
The coat has to be even-growing and healthy-looking, without mottled and matted or tangled areas.
Pay attention to the goat’s legs. A well-fed, healthy goat will have healthy-looking, straight legs. If the goat’s legs are X-shaped, this means they were malnourished during their early months of life, and this will cause issues for the rest of the goat’s life. A few other symptoms of malnourshment are narrow chest, too short o a bodyand kegs that are too short. You should also inspect the goat’s teeth and hooves, and the udder (for girls.)
It’s important to ask the breeder which food the goat seems to thrive most on to see if you can provide hat type of feed/pasture at your homestead of farm.
Finaly, don’t plan on owning just one goat. Goats are herd animals and need to have a few buddies to feel safe so they can thrive. A lonely goat is a sick, frustrated, scared and bored goat. Owning one goat only is cruelty to that goat, as well as cruelty to you yourself, because you are depriving yourself of the company of more goats 🙂
Angora goats pros and cons
Here is an overview of Angora goats pros and cons if you are seriously thinking of getting n Angora goat for your farm or homestead.
- Valuable fiber (of course!)
- Resistance to various diseases such as brucellosis, tuberculosis and others, which makes their meat safe to eat and reduces the need for antibiotics use
- Tasty meat, despite this not being a meat breed of goat!
- Angoras are friendly, outgoing, mild-temperamented goats
- Medium to low fertility. Angoras do not produce a lot of kids and their lactation period is short
- Small amounts of milk which make sit impossible to use them as a dairy goat
- Shearing is necessary (but you wouldn’t get an Angora goat if you weren’t planning to shear anyway!)
- Low maternal instinct in females. If you are planning on breeding Angoras, be prepared to spend a lot of time hand-feeding the kids
- Low adaptability to hot or cold climates
- Angoras can be pretty picky with their food
- Weather and clmate really affect the amount and quality of Angora fiber
Overall, Angoras are absolutely unique and are an invaluable goat breed when it comes to their fiber – mohair. If producing fiber is your goal, you can’t pick a better goat than Angora. I hope you found some valuable information in my little Angora guide and I hope it helps you in your own Angora journey.