Angora goats produce the lustrous fiber called mohair (not to be confused with the fiber called Angora, which is produced by Angora rabbits). The use of mohair is mentioned in texts dating to 1571 BCE. The breed was developed in what is now Turkey and was exported to France and Spain during the sixteenth century, followed by South Africa in 1838, and the United States in 1849. Today, the United States, South Africa, and Turkey lead the world in mohair production. Within the United States, Texas produces 90% of the total volume of mohair, and is home to over 200,000 Angora goats.
Angora goats are often mistaken for sheep because they are similar in appearance. Angora goats can be distinguished from sheep by the distinct ringlet formation of their mohair and their pendulous ears. Mature does typically weight 70 to 110 pounds, while mature bucks can weight up to 225 pounds. Goats of both sexes are horned, although bucks tend to have larger horns that are quite impressive in appearance with an outward spiral away from the head. The ideal goat has a thick covering of mohair on the head and legs as well as on the body. Goat Breeders Association. Although smaller than other goat breeds, Angoras produce a good quality carcass. Their meat is marketed as chevon and is quickly growing in popularity.
On average, American Angora goats produce 10.6 pounds of mohair annually, with a staple length of 12 cm to 15 cm. Mohair takes dye easily and is widely used as an upholstering material due to its durability. The finer hair of young goats is preferred. Mohair is sold in large quantities through cooperatives or fiber warehouses, or it can be sold directly to independent spinners and crafters, or processed on the farm.
Angoras thrive on dry rangeland. They are susceptible to illness and may die if exposed to cold, wet conditions. In climates like ours, indoor housing is required during the coldest months of the year and may be required during the six weeks following shearing, when the goats are most sensitive. Like other goats, they prefer browse to grass, making them an excellent animal for management of brush and invasive species. They will often eat as high as they can reach when standing on their hind legs. Angoras are not the most prolific and grow more slowly than other breeds of goats. Consequently, they are rarely large enough to reproduce as yearlings. Does typically deliver a single kid at two years of age, although a higher plane of nutrition and lower stress levels can increase the incidence of twinning.
Like other goats, Angoras require routine hoof trimming and vaccination. Goats living in selenium deficient areas may require oral or injectable selenium supplements. Angora goats need to be shorn twice per year; this is typically done in the fall and in the spring, just before kidding. Shearing is done by the owner or by a professional shearer that the owner hires. In either case, care must be taken to avoid cutting the animal. Angora goats are said to be more difficult to shear than sheep because of their loose skin. Angora goats are particularly susceptible to both internal and external parasites, and require careful monitoring to prevent infestation. There is even a louse species referred to as the Angora Goat Biting Louse (Bovicola limbatus).
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