angora goats

Livestock & Pets : Angora goats

The articles below cover a number of topics about angora goat health, behaviour and farming. There are more articles in Goats, Dairy Goats and The Basics sections too. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you.  If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.

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finding feed for angora goatsFuture goat farming in New Zealand is based on pasture feeding, and as world grain prices have gone crazy less of it will be fed, and it will be fed more carefully.  The problem with “pasture“ as a feed is that it varies in quality and quantity every day of the year. It goes from low DM, low fibre, high protein and high digestibility in spring and autumn, to low protein, high DM, high fibre and low digestibility in the summer.  Balancing all this to meet the nutritional needs of the stock at different times of the year is often described as more art than science.


Angora goatYou cannot do worthwhile recording and breeding to improve flock performance unless all animals are identified. This ID must be unique so that no two animals have the same identity.  No system of ID is ever perfect, as there are always problems with permanent tags being pulled out on fences, and temporary marks on fleeces fading or being shorn off.

Angora goats are believed to have originated in the mountains of Tibet from where they spread to the Angora province in Turkey. There were five types each with different fleece characteristics but these were merged over time into the mohair goat recognised today.

feeding angora goatsGoats don’t have a split upper lip like sheep so don’t graze as close to the ground. They are classical browsers and are used successfully by farmers to graze out weeds and avoid chemical sprays. Offering goats a wide choice of feed can cause problems as they may for example take a liking to feeds of low nutritional value when you want them to put on weight.

angora ill thrift and poisoningIf your goats are not doing well, there are many possible causes.  The obvious ones are under-feeding and worms, but if you rule these out, what's left?  Here are some of the possibilities - selenium deficiency, iodine deficiency and Johne's disease. Also Marjorie looks at the most common poisons, plant and chemical, which could kill your goat.

What to buy depends on what’s available at the time and what the current market is like. If mohair is out of fashion, then does will be a lot cheaper than when fibre prices are good and people are talking about an approaching boom!

A month by month diary for angora goat farmers.

If you keep goats you are bound by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The details of good practice under this law are set out in a number of animal welfare codes that you should be aware of. 

Goats (Capra hircus) were among the first animals to be kept by man. Goat remains (or those of their early ancestors) 10,000 years old have been found in central and West Iran, and domestic goats have existed in other parts of the world for 8,000 years.

Scouring (diarrhoea) is common in Angora goats.  The first sign of scouring is usually soft wet dags under and around the tail. "Worms" or gastrointestinal nematode parasitism is not just the most common cause of scouring, it's by far and away the most common disease problem of any kind in Angoras.

information on angora goatsA list of books and industry contacts which may be of use to angora goat farmers.

There are particular welfare issues associated with goats, because of their sensitive nature and inquisitive personalities!  Compared with sheep and cattle they need much more protection from the elements because their fleeces are not as waterproof.

Tagging and recording angora goatsNew Zealand sheep farmers, shepherds and research technicians over the years have shown amazing innovation in developing practical ways to make field recording easier. This article looks at tagging adult goats with both plastic and brass tags and tagging kids in wet weather and in fine! The article also looks at the common causes of recording errors.

slaughter or euthanasiaIf you have to euthanase a goat of any age, it’s important to study the Code of Animal Welfare No. 19 on “the emergency slaughter of farm livestock”, because the process can be very dangerous for the operator, and you may end up being prosecuted for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal.

Goats are seasonal breeders coming into heat in autumn as daylight declines. They reach maturity at about 5-6 months old but well-reared milking-breed kids can show heat earlier (4 months) so they have to be watched to avoid too-early mating.

angora fencingMaking sure you can find goats where you left them has been a challenge for herders since domestication.   Although goats are not classical “follower” species like sheep, if one finds an escape route the whole herd will soon follow.  Some goats are born to be escapologists and they can lead to disasters on steep hill country when one finds a hole in the fence in a hollow, and the rest of the mob push up behind it waiting their turn to follow ending up in a massive smother.  So having good fences in the correct locations is the first priority of goat farming.

If you keep goats you are bound by the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The details of good practice under this law are set out in a number of animal welfare codes that you should be aware of. 

injecting angora goatsWhen giving injections always get veterinary advice to make sure the products are appropriate and you know the correct procedure. A loaded syringe can be a dangerous weapon for both you and any helpers. If anyone does get injected, then seek immediate medical help and take the product with you to the doctor.  Keep your tetanus vaccinations up to date too.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter for storage and use of the product. 

Angora - lameness and sudden deathPart three in a series on Angora goat health and disease looks at lameness and sudden death. Practically every goat farmer has to deal with lame goats at some time or other. It's a common problem, particularly on wet land and when the horn on the feet becomes overgrown. The most common causes of lameness are foot scald, foot rot, foot abscess and arthritis.

handling angora fleeceIf you do a good job on the basic fleece handling on the farm, then it makes the job easier for the classer, and this will be reflected in a higher return.  Before shearing sort goats into sexes and groups.  For example: any shorn at different times with different fleece lengths.

Getting started is often the most difficult part, as some major decisions have to be made. These are mainly controlled by available finance and the time you are prepared to wait for results.

Angora breedingBreeders agree that many traits are important, but they may put them in different orders of priority.  For example if you are spending hours treating goats for footrot and dealing with dirty rear ends with worms, then getting rid of these two traits for an “easy-care” flock is of prime importance.

angora health diseases of the skin and the brainThe signs of skin disease are usually fairly obvious, with itchiness, or hair loss, or scurfiiness or sores, or reddening or some other change in the appearance of the skin.  Sometimes though the long hair of Angora goats can hide developing disease, giving you a nasty surprise at shearing time!  As with all diseases it pays to be vigilant to spot the early signs of disease, and this means hands-on inspection, not just eye appraisal.

castrating and dehorning angora goatsAngora goats are not usually dehorned although the horns are usually tipped (the last 1cm of horn clipped off) as they can be extremely sharp.  Horns can be tipped with hoof shears or secateurs.  Sharp horns can be a nuisance and a danger to humans in both kids and adults, but they have the big advantage of making catching and holding goats easier. Kids can be dehorned with a hot iron before they are a week old but great care is needed.

You cannot do worthwhile recording and breeding to improve flock performance unless all animals are identified. This ID must be unique so that no two animals have the same identity.

mohair fibreFibres start to grow in the foetus from follicles in the skin.The first to develop are large coarse fibres from primary follicles, and finer fibres follow these from secondary follicles.A typical group of these follicles would be made up of three primaries and 20-30 secondaries in a mohair goat.  Birth coats are rich in coarse fibres but are shed at about three months old leaving fine fibres from the secondary follicles to produce the first fleece. Fleeces generally become coarser with age as the primary follicles continue to produce and shed coarse fibres, especially during spring and autumn.

Goats are a vastly greater challenge to handle than sheep and the first thing you'll need to do is to heighten the yards to prevent jumping.

What are the main types of disease problem in Angoras?

Compared with other farm animals, goats are relatively susceptible to internal worms, which can cause scouring and ill-thrift.   Angora goats tend to suffer more problems with their feet than sheep, especially on lush pasture, and this causes lameness and ill-thrift.

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