Angora Goat Adventures
The journey to mohair fiber is full of joy.
Standing in pasture, three Angora bucks exhibit more dignity than expected.
courtesy Dr. Fred Speck, Kerrville, Texas, and Ranch & Rural Living Magazine, San Angelo, Texas
Sometimes, the best things in life come to you unexpectedly. I think that every day as my goats greet me in the barn with inquisitive eyes, curly coats and anticipatory bleats. I have fallen in love with this group and the Angora goat breed in general. They are fiber animals, producing curly locks called mohair (not angora, which is produced by Angora rabbits). In full fleece, they look like loveable moppets on four legs. Freshly sheared, they resemble a more common breed of goat, although they don’t stay looking that way for long. In my eyes, there is nothing quite so beautiful as a herd of Angoras, in full fleece, grazing in a green pasture on a beautiful summer day.
My husband, Randy, and I started raising Angora goats in 2002. We had just moved to my ancestral home, a 68-acre farm in southwestern Wisconsin called Skjønsbergdalen Farm. It was a dream come true moving back to the place where I grew up with my own family. We found the farm well cared for but needed to stock it with something to bring the overgrown pastures back to their prime. A friend suggested Angora goats.
I had never liked goats and was initially skeptical, but when we first visited an Angora farm in Minnesota, I was amazed by the multicolored herd’s beauty. We came home with six goats: a buck, his companion wether and four does. Our intent was to breed and sell Angoras in our area and to market the mohair, which we knew could be used alone or blended with wool, spun and knitted. Some could also be used for doll hair. I was determined to find the right people to buy my fiber.
My family and I knew absolutely nothing about Angora goats – nil. We bought a book on raising them “the northern way.” From the book – Angora Goats the Northern Way by Susan Black Drummond – we learned white Angoras are commonly raised in Texas, the second largest mohair producer in the world. South Africa leads production, and Turkey comes in third. Raising Angoras – colored ones, even – in a colder climate seemed to be a fairly new concept, and we were eager to see if we could do it.
The journey begins
On the first night home with the goats, our three children and I sat on the barn floor with the does and gave them treats, hugs and names. We added Bunny, Ivy, Patches and Satcha to our family. Randy stood outside with Dallas, the buck, and James, the wether, fixing a fence that had already been challenged. If you suspect a pattern was forming, you are correct.
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