Angora goats produce MOHAIR, which should not be confused with Angora wool, which comes from Angora rabbits.
While other goats are double-coated, i.e. they have coarse outer hairs and an under-down; Angora goats are the only single-coated breed. The presence of any coarse hairs, known as kemp and medullated fibres, are faults.
Mohair is a fine luxurious fibre, which can readily be dyed to brilliant colours. It is sometimes referred to as the “diamond fibre” because of its lustre and hardwearing properties. It is often blended with other natural fibres to produce yarns and textiles. Angora goats are sheared twice a year, usually in January and late summer. As the fleece grows, it forms “ringlets” or staples, due to a spiral twist known as style and a crimp known as character. The length, lustre, density, quality, fineness and evenness of the fleece are all-important, a product of heredity and management.
Fibre diameter increases with the goat’s age; kid mohair is under 30 microns in diameter, young goat is 30 – 33 microns, and adult is over 33 microns. The finest fibre is the most highly priced and is used for sweaters and cloth, the coarsest for rugs. A fleece report, generated by microscope and computer, should be seen for any animal considered for purchase and the results of the British Angora Goat Society’s Sire evaluation Scheme should also be taken into account. Since a heavy fleece from a male goat may weigh 6 kg. and that from a female 4 kg., a sturdy body and strong legs are important. Once shorn the mohair may be home processed or sold as it is through British Mohair Marketing Ltd.
As well as Angora goat classes at shows, fleece competitions are held, and craft competitions at which beautiful garments of the highest standard may be seen. Angora goats require plenty of forage in their diet, (see BGS booklet “Feeding Goats”) and adequate housing after shearing and around kidding time.
Further information can be obtained from the Secretary of the British Angora Goat Society (also the Secretary of British Mohair Marketing):
The Secretary, 135 West Bawrty Road, Rotheram, South Yorkshire, S60 2XQ. Tel: 01143 602020