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Raising angora goats

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese
Photo: Pinxterbloom Farms

Diet is important

Listen here to the radio mp3

Radio interview source: John Frett, owner, Pinxterbloom Farms

Fall is definitely settling in and I've started digging out the sweaters. One of my favorites is made with mohair. It's light, silky, and warm. Mohair comes from Angora goats. Clothing is made from the fine hair of young Angoras, and carpet and upholstery is made from the hair of older Angoras. Folks who raise them either use the fiber themselves or sell it to a mill.

John Frett raises Angoras, and says these friendly and inquisitive creatures are easy keepers because they're not escape artists like other goats. However, he uses high-tensile electric fencing around their pen mostly to keep predators out.

Although Angora goats will eat poor quality shrubs, bushes, and woody plants, Frett says their health and coat production is better with the good stuff.

"All summer long they're on pasture, so they're just eating good pasture, which is better nutrition for them," Frett says. "In the fall prior to breeding season, I start my does back on a grain feed, which is a supplement. It's not their primary source; it's just a supplement for them. And then through the winter months I will also feed them that supplement as they feed hay through the winter."

Shear twice a year

Angora hair ranges from white, pale silver and tan; to blue, black, and cinnamon red. On average, mature goats produce 10 to 16 pounds of hair annually, and it is shorn twice a year.

"Angora goats grow a little less than an inch of hair a month," Frett says. "So that means in six months, you're going to have six inches of hair, which is about when you want to shear them. Most mills want hair between four and six inches for processing, if it gets longer than that, they have difficulty -- their equipment just doesn't take it very well."

After they're shorn, Angoras are sensitive to temperature extremes. Frett says a friend of his lost a few to hypothermia in the middle of the summer after a chilly, windy rain storm came through. When the goats are in full fleece, they're weather-tolerant, hardy animals.

The price of bucks and does starts at about $350. Some breeders sell one buck and three to five does together for roughly $1,200.

Learn more:

Herd health program and general management practices for Angora goats: See how the right nutritional balance is necessary to keep goats healthy and reproducing, without allowing their wool to become too coarse.

Angora goats: This site is a good place for beginners to start. Learn about buying and caring for Angoras, and see what it takes to be a successful breeder.

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