Angora goats typically give 8 to 12 pounds of fiber yearly, which you can shear yourself or higher a professional to do.
I received my first question from a “Mondays with Martok” reader. Yay! (You can ask me your animal-related questions, too, by clicking here.) My question is from Julie Anne Lail who says, “Martok, what can you tell me about the difficulty and equipment that will be going into the Angora goats we are planning to purchase? Will it be difficult to learn how to shear?”
Julie Anne, Angora goats are more laidback than dairy goats or meat goats, but you’ll still need to build good fences. That’s because goats are curious and very smart, so if we find a weak place in the fence, out we go exploring. Our fences also have to help protect us from predators, including free-roaming dogs. To be on the safe side, you might want to add a guardian animal, such as a livestock guardian dog, a mid-sized to large donkey (not a miniature one), or a llama to your family to protect your goats.
Most Angora goats are horned, and disbudding is highly discouraged, especially if you want to show your goats. As kids’ horns grow longer, it’s easy for their heads to get stuck in fences, so woven wire fences should have openings too small for a young goat’s head to go through them or large enough that they can easily pull their heads back out.
You’ll also need good shelter for your goats. All goats appreciate a dry place to get out of the hot summer sun, cold and wind, but Angora goats aren’t as hardy as other breeds. They’re extra sensitive, especially right after shearing, and kids are delicate. Angora goats get sick or die when stressed by rain and cold.
Learn how to properly feed your goats before you buy some. This is especially important with Angora goats because without proper nutrition, they can’t grow lovely, long locks. Talk to your county extension agent, an expert at your state veterinary college or an established, successful Angora goat breeder in your area to learn how to feed Angoras where you live.
Most Angora goats are sweet and easygoing. According to Oklahoma State’s Angora goat page, mature does weigh 70 to 110 pounds. Studly bucks are much larger, weighing 180 to 225 pounds. Angoras are a very ancient type of goat mentioned in the Bible and on cuneiform tablets dating back thousands of years. America’s first Angora goats came from Turkey in 1849. Angora goats are traditionally white, but nowadays they come in colors, too, ranging from darkest black to silver and deep red to pink, sometimes accented with white markings.
Angora goat fiber is called mohair, not angora. (Angora comes from Angora rabbits.) Well-fed, properly maintained Angora goats grow about 3/4 to 1 inch of mohair per month. According to the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association, does shear 8 pounds or more of usable fiber per year and bucks grow 12 or more pounds of fiber in the same period. Most are shorn twice a year, in spring and fall, when their locks are about 5 inches long. People who sell mohair for Santa Claus beards and doll wigs shear their goats when their fiber is about 10 inches long. Kids grow soft, cushy mohair, and their fiber gets coarser as they age. Does usually grow the finest fiber and bucks the coarsest. Some people keep Angora-goat wethers because they aren’t stressed by breeding and they tend to grow nice fiber all their lives.
If you want, you can shear your goats by hand using scissors or the type of hand shears used for sheep. Otherwise, you can use electric sheep shears fitted with a 20-tooth goat comb. Most people use a fitting stand or a dairy-goat-style milking stand when shearing their own goats, but you can also halter your goats and shear them standing, tied to a fence. Also, most sheep shearers also shear Angora goats. Ask your county extension agent who shears sheep where you live.