Raising Angora goats

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5 years 8 months ago #526434 by Little Fish
Hello
I am seriously contemplating moving to a small lifestyle block and trying to be largely self sufficient. I have never run stock before but am keen on the idea of raising angora goats for fleece which could become one source of income. I was hoping I could get some advice here i.e. how viable is it to raise goats for fleece, is it practical for someone with no previous experience to try and do, how big a herd would be required to make a humble living, are there any particular pitfalls/large expenses to raising goats, what is the current market for fleece like, are there any locations that would be better than others, etc.
Any advice gratefully accepted
Erica :)

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5 years 8 months ago #526448 by Baroque
Replied by Baroque on topic Raising Angora goats
Hi Erica - welcome to LSB!

Talk to Kate who is our LSB Angora expert.

I used to breed Angoras about 25 years ago, and eventually sold my entire flock as a going concern so I'm a bit out of the loop with Angoras but have also bred Boers in the past year or so and my comments about feet relate to them as well. I don't know what the fibre rates are for mohair, it is still a very popular fibre for spinning, crafts etc.

Main issues with the Angoras that we had were the ongoing feet problems, so I expect you will need to keep on top of their feet to keep them happy and healthy. They will require good shedding as goats do not like wet, wind or cold, and a good set of yards and a goat handler for hoof trimming and a footbath are also advised. ;)
Plus a good shearer who likes to work with goats. Some of the sheep guys aren't too happy working with goats, something to do with horns? :woohoo: but I find horns are great handles for grabbing and restraining etc.

Breeding & training quality Spanish horses - THE horse of Kings! Also breeding Arapawa & Pitt Island sheep.

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5 years 8 months ago #526454 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Raising Angora goats
Angora goats...my favourite B) B)

How much they can contribute to your farm income depends on many things.

In very rough terms, if you manage them well you'll get around 3kgs of mohair per goat per year. The prices vary depending on the micron of the fleece and the length, with weaving lengths now sought after. So the income per kilo is very difficult to estimate. I suspect an average would be around $15/kg. So you'd only make about $45/goat/year in fleece. Of course you can also breed them and sell your surplus goats.

We have very few feet problems with our goats now and don't have to drench regularly. But we have built very flash sheds for them which help keep their feed dry and also feed them ad lib hay to keep them in good condition.

As for location, we're in a high rainfall area with clay soils which should be about as bad as it can be and we cope B) Well draining soil would be nice, but then feed can be an issue during a drought.

Having said all that, I can't imagine being without my goats, we're in the middle of kidding and the kids are amazing. The adult goats are easy to handle, full of character and they just see fences as a challenge, not a barrier. We had no experience at all when we started and we've been at it for over a decade now and have around (depending on who has kidded in the last hour) 130 goats.

I'm happy to answer any questions and if you're in this area you are welcome to come out and have a look.

Cheers
Kate

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5 years 8 months ago #526456 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Raising Angora goats
We had Angora goats (which make mohair fleece and not angora fleece - angora fleece comes from a special kind of rabbit :) ) for a while, and considered going into the mohair business. But we went into Boers instead.
Compared to Boers, our 4 Angora wethers had very good feet, but the does that got into kid tended to struggle.
We run sheep and goats together which is a very silly thing to do, because goats catch all the sheep bugs and others that sheep do not catch. Do not run sheep and goats on the same farm. Either sheep, or goats, but not both means that the goats stay much healthier. Cattle and goats go well together. Our donkeys have been spiked by goats horns.
Other reasons that we did not have woolies include
1. keeping sticks and rubbish out of the fleece is very important for good prices
2. Shearing goats is different than sheep, so finding a good shearer can be difficult.
3. health aspects are very different than sheep, and few vets know that and tend to treat them as they would sheep
4. here they get a mid-winter and a mid summer break (weak spot) in the fleece, so they have to be shorn just after mid winter and just after mid summer. A local when starting out saved a paddock for the mid winter shear, put the freshly shorn goats into this sheltered paddock with plenty of food, and a storm came in. The goats did not know where to find shelter, and most of them were dead in the morning :( .
5 overfed goats make coarser fleece than if they had been starved, and fine fleece is what is wanted :(
6. as they age the fleece gets coarser, so they should be sent to the freezing works. For us there is no convenient works, and goats find long journeys traumatic.
7. payment for the fleece takes months.

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5 years 8 months ago #526457 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Raising Angora goats
There is some good general information here
And a breeder, David Brown, has an interesting website too

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