Angora Goat

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Angora goats are from a breed of domesticated goat, known as Angora ((Turkish: Ankara keçisi) and originated from the Angora district in Asia Minor. Angora goats are known to produce a lustrous fiber called mohair. Mohair refers to the fleece taken from an Angora goat.

According to the Angora Goat Mohair Industry publication from USDA, Angora goat breeds date back prior to biblical history (1451 and 1571), as mohair was mentioned in the time of Moses. Mohair started to become a valuable commerce product in the early 19th century. To support the increase in the supply of mohair products for export to countries in Europe, the Turkish farmers cross-bred the Angora goat breed with common stock to increase the amount of saleable hair.

The milk and meat production of the Angora goat breed is not as desirable and profitable as other goat breeds.

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Angora Goat History

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The Angora goat is acknowledged to be a direct descendant of the Capra falconeri, otherwise known as the Central Asian markhor. This animal has been around since the Paleolithic period.

 Angora goats were first introduced to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and later on to North America and the USA. Eventually, the Angora goat breed began to thrive in the Southwest USA, particularly in Texas, thanks to the abundant Texan shrubs and grasses to sustain these animals. To this day, Angora goat breeds in Texas remain to be the largest mohair producer in the U.S and the third largest in the world.

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Angora Goat Characteristics

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A single Angora goat produces around four to five kilograms of hair per year and is shorn twice a year. A lot of people think that Angora goats are related to sheep because of their fluffy coats or wool but it has already been established that these animals are not directly related to sheep.

 Angora goats are smaller animals compared to milk goats, common goats, sheep or cattle. The size of Angora goats may vary considerably but mature bucks usually weigh around 180 to 225 pounds but they do not reach their maximum weight until they reach around five years of age. Mature angora does usually weigh around 70 to 110 pounds. The color of these goats may vary with shades of tan, brown, red, gray and black.

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Head and Body Characteristics

Both sexes of Angora goats are horned. Bucks usually show a pronounced, spiral horn which is set back and away from its head and may reach around two or more feet in length. Meanwhile, the horn of a female angora goat is smaller and shorter (around nine or ten inches), and has a very slight tendency to spiral. The ears of Angora goat breeds are drooping and heavy.

The form of the Angora goat is likened to sheep but the mutton characteristics are considerably less developed. Angora goats are known to be small-sized animals and are even smaller than common sheep breeds. The body is deep and uniform in depth, with the rib well sprung and the back straight. The rear quarters of Angora goats must show ample development – with the legs straight and the chest wide.

Health of Angora Goats

Angora goat breeders must be extra careful in taking care of the health of these farm animals because they are more susceptible to ectoparasites or external parasites compared to other farm animals because their coats are denser.

During the first few days of life, Angora goats are particularly delicate and are not considered to be healthy and hardy goats until they become an adult. Due to their rapid hair growth, Angora goat breeds have high nutritional requirements. A poor-quality diet will affect and curtail mohair development.

Mature Angora goats in their full hair may be considered as hardy animals but breeders know that when the animal is sheared, it cannot withstand wet and cold rains. Storms and extremely cold weather can cause excessive losses in Angora herds.

In terms of reproduction, Angora does are known to produce only one kid at a time, so they are not really considered as a prolific breed. During non-mating seasons, bucks and does are usually separated from each other.

Angora Goat Diet

Angora goats need to have a nutritious diet for efficient growth and production. Principle elements needed to be infused in an Angora goat diet include vitamins, energy,trace elements, minerals and protein. Clean and fresh water is also needed as water plays an important role in keeping these animals healthy, hydrated and productive.

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Top Producers of Angora Goat Mohair

The top producers in the mohair industry are South Africa, Argentina, Turkey and the United States. Secondary mohair producers include Australia and New Zealand.

There was a time when Angora goats were primarily bred for their white coats. However, in 1998, the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association promoted breeding of colored Angora goats. Because of this, Angora goat breeds produce brownish, red, white and black fibers.

Angora Goat Mohair Production

In terms of chemical composition, mohair is very similar to wool; it’s only difference from wool is its thin , smooth scales on a smooth surface and it also lacks the felting characteristics of wool.

Mohair can be likened to coarse and unrefined wool in terms of the size of its fiber, which is strong, elastic, takes dye very well and has considerable luster. Mohair is considered to be valuable for making plushies, upholstery and covering materials because of its durability, strength and beauty.

More Than Just Mohair Suppliers

Angora goat breeds are known to be mohair suppliers but they are actually more than that. Angoras have an efficient grazing habit which makes them valuable in the agriculture sector. They have a tendency to stand on their hind legs to forage and eat as high as they can.

Because of this trait, Angora goats are able to make economic returns on land areas that have been considered to be unsuitable for agricultural purposes.

How Long Do Angora Goats Live?

As mentioned earlier, Angora goat breeds are not so sustainable compared to their other farm animal counterparts. However, assuming that it is well taken care of and given the right facilities, support and nutrition, Angora goat breeds can have a lifespan of up to ten years.

Can Angora Goats Be Used for Meat?

In the past, goat carcasses have been considered as low-grade sheep carcasses. However, Angora goat breeders found a way to develop Angora goat carcass and was eventually accepted and referred to as chevon in the market.

The flesh and meat of Angora goats, especially from young goats in good condition, are considered as quite acceptable and even considered by some as a delicacy. The carcasses of Angora goats are thinner and the dressing is lower than sheep even though they have been fed and raised in a similar manner.

Angora Goat Milk

As mentioned, Angora goats are not really suitable for meat and milk production. The milk of an Angora goat may contain up to 5.7% of fat.