An Introduction to Goat Breeds
(Page 5 of 7)
Myotonics are the smallest breed in the meat class (17 to 25 inches tall at the withers). Does should reach 130–150 pounds. Bucks have been noted to reach 200 pounds.
Also known as Wooden Leg, Stiff Leg, Nervous, or Tennessee Scare Goat.
Two distinct fibers are produced by goats—mohair and cashmere. While mohair is only produced by the Angora goat, cashmere can be found on over sixty of the world’s goat breeds. (In North America, we most often find cashmere on Spanish and Myotonic breeds.)
Finding a top-producing cashmere goat is difficult in North America, not to mention an expensive acquisition for the small herder. Primarily you won’t be looking for a breed, but a type (or class) of goat. For a goat to be classed as a cashmere, it should produce fiber with a crimp, be under 19 μ in diameter, and over 1 1/4 inches in length. The size of μ, from a simplistic understanding, is the result of a calculation from an equation of two or more measurements.
Angoras, on the other hand, are a pure and registered breed. These silky-haired goats generate 10 to 15 pounds of mohair annually. A wether produces slightly more than a doe.
The Angora is certainly in a class of its own, but the care is similar to that of other goat breeds. If you are only planning on keeping a few and hope to sell the fiber twice a year, find a local breeder or Angora Goat group to collaborate with. Not only will they share invaluable breeding, feeding, and coat care tips, they will also assist you in finding a buyer for your yield.
An import from Turkey, the Angora breed has been in North America for over 150 years. Texas is the second largest producer or mohair worldwide. The breed is neither hardy nor an easy keep in comparison to other breeds, but they are an amiable pet for knowledgeable and conscientious owners.
Angoras are a silky-haired breed with long coats of wavy or curly locks, 5 to 6 inches in length. Although most Angora goats kept for fiber collection are white, they are also found in black, red, and brown.
Angoras are not a particularly hardy breed. As focus is on coat growth and quality; their diet should be closely monitored. Prone to parasitic infection given their dense coats and seldom set out to browse in mixed pasture where seeds and burrs can collect in the coat, lessening the value.
Does grow to an average of 95 pounds, bucks to 190 pounds.
Miniatures are currently popular on farms with limited space or need for full-production animals and their output. When I decided a few years ago to settle on a breed, I almost passed over any goat labeled as a mini, dwarf, or pygmy until a goat-keeping friend convinced me to consider the yield and personalities of these breeds.
Although only two miniature breeds are widely available in the United States and Canada, more than a few crossbreeds are worthy of a second look.
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