Thursday, August 7, 2008

Raising Goats for Mohair

Certain types of goats produce long hair that can be shorn, like a sheep of its wool, and made into clothing. There are two types of goat which are popular with knitters and weavers; the Cashmere, which appropriately produces Cashmere, and the Angora, which produces Mohair.

Cashmere and Mohair are both excellent animal fibers; however I will focus here on Mohair, and the Angora goat. Mohair is used in sweaters, coats, scarves, floor rugs and carpets, as well as many other items. A full-grown Angora goat can produce up to 15.4 pounds (7 kilograms) of Mohair each year. However as the goats age, their hair thickens and thus making it less valuable.

Mohair is not the Angora’s only claim to fame however. Raising Angora goats for showing is also quite popular since they require very little special attention and are smaller than most sheep and other goats at maturity of 2 years.

When determining the value of an Angora’s coat, one must consider both the age and size of the goat, and of course the condition of the hair. Things to look for in an Angora goat include good size (bigger means more hair) and conformation, also check Mohair production records from the first two shearings, targeting a minimum of 12 pounds produced for bucks, 10 pounds for does.

Most Angora goat owners will shear their goat’s hair twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Simple wool shears will suffice for the job.

One of the largest producers of Mohair is the United States, with over 2.4 million pounds produced in 2002. Interestingly, this number is reduced more than half from 1997 which saw production of over 5 million pounds of Mohair.

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