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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.