When should angoras be sheared?
Every six months. September and March are popular months, right before breeding in the fall and right before kidding in the spring.
Is mohair a good selling product?
The commercial hair market, the producer selling directly to the coop or mill has been soft the last few years, but is on the upswing. If you tap a custom handspinning market you can command top dollar for your fiber, but it must be impecably clean and of top quality, which may or may not be feasable for your management sitution.
What is the usual selling price of raw mohair?
From $3 to $12 a pound for white hair, $10-25 a pound for colored hair if sold to a handspinner (the coop will not accept colored hair, but there is a strong specialty market). Hair from younger goats is finer, and therefore more valueable.
How is mohair usually used?
Fine hair from yearling and younger animals is used for clothing and apparel, older animal hair is used in carpet, upholstery etc.
Is a buck or a doe better for shearing?
A buck shears a heavier fleece, but can often be coarser. So there really is no "better" option.
My goats are scratching and when I look at their skin I see little orange bugs. What is this?
Your goats have lice. There are a number of delousing products on the market. We like using Ivomec Eprinex, but you can also use any of the several synergized delice products or pour ons on the market.
Can sheep shears be used on goats? Do I need to bathe them before shearing?
Yes, indeed the same shears can be used on your goats - you will need to use a 20-tooth mohair comb with the shears. You do not need to bath, blow or brush them before shearing-- although blowing might reduce some vegetable matter.
What is the best way to store fleeces?
We store our raw fleeces in paper bags--we find this perfect, we just right the goat's name, fleece weight, anything else on the bag and tape it shut until we can get to processing it, or sell it.
Do you wash mohair before spinning?
Yes, it should be washed before spinning, using very hot water and some type of detergent, bathing 2 times (let it soak for 30 min each) and rinsing at least twice. It is common in the last rinse to add either a few ounces of vinegar or denatured alcohol to bring out the natural shine and luster of the fiber. After washing, dry the mohair on towels or screening in a well ventilated area or set a fan to blow on the fiber for quicker drying.
How do I prepare for shearing?
- Keep goats dry in the 24 hours prior to shearing.
- Shear youngest goats first, oldest goats last to prevent coarser fiber from becoming mixed with finer, higher value hair.
- Keep the shearing area clean. A plywood platform works well, especially if swept between age or color groups.
- Communicate with your shearer. Let him know that you don't mind a slower pace as long as the animals are treated gently and there is a minimum of second cuts (short cuts that downgrade the value of the fleece).
- Skirt stained or soiled hair out of the fleece before storing the fleece.
cape: an unshorn strip, 6 to 8 inches wide, of hair left along a goat's spine to protect it from becoming chilled after shearing. After shearing, angoras are very sensitive to wet, cold rain and whole range flocks have been lost to chilly weather. If shelter cannot be provided to protect goats from cold and wet, a cape is a good compromise.
kemp: short hairy fibers in the fleece that have a hollow core and do not accept dye, thereby lowereing the quality of a fleece. In white angora goats, kemp is white, in colored animals it is often darker than the rest of the fleece. When a kid is born, their coat is 70% kemp. Over time the kid sheds this kemp, first in front and then in back, and mohair grows in its place.
medulated fibers: similar to kemp, in that it is a hollow cored fiber, but medulated fibers are much longer, often the same length as mohair. They have a characteristic scrunched appearance and are much coarser than true mohair fibers. Although highly undesirable, medulated fiber is more acceptable than kemp.
yolk: the wax or grease in a mohair fleece that protects the fiber from sun and chemical damage. When washing a mohair fleece VERY HOT water is required to disolve the yolk.