Perhaps you read about Angora Rabbits and are wondering about their goat counterpart; the Angora Goat! Of course these two animals are not related, but both are well known for producing some of the worlds softest fibers. The fiber from the Angora rabbit is called Angora, while the fiber from the Angora goat is called Mohair.
Angora goats originated in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. They were brought to the United States in 1849, and although they are now in many other places of the USA, and Canada, Texas is the third largest producer of mohair in the world.
Most goats have 2 kinds of hair, long primary hairs, and short secondary curly hairs. The Angora goats lack the primary hairs and their secondary hairs are closely packed and grow longer; called mohair. They may have some primary hairs, which are called kemp, and are undesirable. Mohair from these goats should grow at a rate of 1 inch (2.5cm) a month.
Mature Angora goat does weigh 75 pounds (40 kg) or more, while mature billies weigh around 150 pounds (85kg).
Angora goats have floppy ears, and horns.
photo source - Good Angora goats get way more hairy than this one.
The Angora goat was originally bred to be white (the fleece is actually a creamy white), but very recently color was introduced and now it is possible to find them in black, red and brown. Goat hair does fade in the sun, so it is darker at the base, next to the animal, and faded out at its length. These colors are not accepted by some registries and are usually part-bred animals.
Angora goats are sheared twice a year and produce between 10 and 16 pounds (4 – 6 kg) of mohair per year. Wethers (castrated males) tend to produce more than does.
Angora goats are considered quite valuable for their fleece but are not a very thrifty, or hardy, animal otherwise. They are prone to parasites and have poor birth rates. Unlike some goats that can have three or more kids, angora's usually only have one or two.
Gestation for an angora goat is 5 months, the average lifespan is just over 10 years, assuming the animal is well cared for.
Fleece – all the hair from one goat after shearing
Clip – all the hair from one goat for the entire year (goats are sheared twice) or
Clip – all the hair from the entire herd of goats for one shearing
First Clip – the hair from the first shearing of an animal, the best for baby clothing and baby blankets
Staple – individual hairs in a fleece, longer than 4 inches, 10 cm, is best for spinning
Lock – fibers that cling together and hang off the animal
Carding - laying a process that lays the fibers in the same direction in preparation for spinning
Spinning - turning mohair into yard, it must be washed and carded first
Mohair is described with two words, character and style. The character of the mohair refers to the crimp, and the style refers to the twist.
It takes roughly 1 pound of mohair to make a light sweater, ¼ pound will make scarf.
Further Reading: The Cashmere Goat