Angora Goat Adventures

The journey to mohair fiber is full of joy.

| May/June 2009

  • Three Angora bucks
    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
  • Marco and Maria
    Marco and Maria take a moment before entering the barnyard.
    Norm Eggert Photography
  • Mohair in the making
    A field full of Angora goats makes quite a shaggy sight.
    courtesy Hill Shepherd Farm, www.
  • Kid Angora
    A kid ponders his next move.
  • Difficulty seeing
    Sometimes it's difficult to understand how Angora goats can see.
    courtesy Dr. Fred Speck, Kerrville, Texas, and Ranch & Rural Living Magazine, San Angelo, Texas

  • Three Angora bucks
  • Marco and Maria
  • Mohair in the making
  • Kid Angora
  • Difficulty seeing

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. 

Uncertain start

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.

Friends in the goat world and Drummond’s book helped us through the processes of worming, tetanus shot administration, hoof trimming and delousing. (Angoras can get species-specific lice that must be controlled.) Randy developed a fencing obsession, partly out of necessity, as he tried out different types of fencing, posts and fasteners to keep our boys in. An aggressive, rutting buck and a wether that likes to jump do not make a good combination. Sometimes, Randy would come home from work and, with that crazed look in his eyes, barrel past me and head straight for the fence section that Dallas and James were “working on.” Over the next few years, we tried various types of fencing, and eventually put up a 5-strand electric fence that keeps the animals safely contained. (For more on electric fencing see "Electric Fencing Basics."

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