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Angora on the Hill

An Iowa family started a rabbit project and is developing it into a business
Photo courtesy of Erin Houghton

Erin Houghton of Adel, Iowa, was looking for a project for her three kids, ages 14, 7, and 8. The older child had been showing cattle and hogs, but the two little ones also wanted animals to care for on their 10-acre farm.

They began researching rabbits and decided on the Angora breed. They found a breeder nearby and brought home two females. Erin says the bunnies had such wonderful personalities, they decided to have a couple of litters. And because they chose Angora’s, there was another benefit.

"I think it may have something to do with the fact that I grew up on a sheep farm and always was around wool. I was so intrigued that you could actually shear these bunnies and then sell the wool, so I thought that would also be a great project for the kids," says Erin. "They could not only raise bunnies and sell babies, but they could also care for these adult rabbits, brush them or shear them, and sell the wool."

The kids are in charge of daily rabbit care and brushing. Erin says as for now, she does most of the shearing because Angora’s have a paper-thin hide.

The rabbits are sheared every 90-days or so, and Erin has found a market for the fiber.

"I found several people who are very interested in purchasing the wool. Several people that I work with actually enjoy spinning the wool," says Erin. "The wool brings anywhere from $5, I’ve seen it up to about $15 per-ounce. It just depends on the quality of the wool and even the color of the wool."

Erin says they’ve been keeping Angora rabbits for just over a year. They feel they’re off to a good start, and would like to expand and purchase more does. However, she says they’re taking it slow so they can learn all they can about the bunnies and do it right.

 

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